Response rate of lorazepam in catatonia: a developing country's perspective

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Dec 1;34(8):1520-2. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2010.08.017. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


Background: Catatonia is a syndrome characterized by concurrent motor, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. Short-term benzodiazepine administration and electroconvulsive therapy have proven to be safe and useful for treatment of this syndrome.

Aims: This study aimed to explore the evidence of effectiveness of lorazepam as a first line treatment for catatonia in a tertiary psychiatry centre in India given the lack of facilities for ECT in primary care centers of developing countries. We examined the response rate of lorazepam in Catatonia.

Methodology: Clinical charts of 107 inpatients, admitted over a duration of two years, with a primary diagnosis of catatonia were examined for response with lorazepam trial. Trial was considered as having received 3-6 mg per day of lorazepam for at least 3 days.

Results: Among the patients who were given lorazepam treatment, 32 out of 99 (32.3%) showed response (with complete resolution of catatonic symptoms). Improvement in catatonic symptoms was seen in 68 out of 99 (68.7%) patients.

Conclusions: Lorazepam is cost effective and could rapidly relieve catatonic signs, even without the use of ECT in a significant proportion of catatonic patients. Its early use can prevent disease progression and complications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Catatonia / drug therapy*
  • Catatonia / epidemiology
  • Catatonia / psychology*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Lorazepam / pharmacology
  • Lorazepam / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / drug effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Lorazepam