Electroconvulsive therapy for agitation in Alzheimer disease: a case series

J ECT. 2008 Sep;24(3):239-41. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181587416.


Background: Alzheimer disease (AD) patients frequently exhibit agitated behaviors that can be difficult to treat pharmacologically due to side effects and lack of efficacy. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a potential treatment option for patients who have failed medication trials.

Methods: Chart review of agitated AD patients treated at Mayo Clinic with ECT from 2001 to 2006.

Results: Of 11 patients, 9 had improvement or remission of agitated behavior. Hospitalizations in the year after the initial ECT series decreased significantly for all patients in the study.

Conclusions: Electroconvulsive therapy is a safe and effective treatment for agitation in AD patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Agitation / etiology*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Retreatment
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome