Effectiveness of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients With Advanced Parkinson Disease

J ECT. 2021 Jun 1;37(2):88-93. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000732.


Objectives: In addition to motor symptoms, patients with Parkinson disease (PD) experience various psychiatric comorbidities, including impulse control disorders (ICDs). Moreover, antiparkinsonian drugs sometimes cause psychiatric symptoms. Antiparkinsonian and antipsychotic drugs are competitive in pharmacodynamics, and psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants, may worsen motor symptoms or induce adverse reactions. Considering this conflicting situation, we examined the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on both motor and psychiatric symptoms in PD.

Methods: We retrospectively examined 12 PD patients with advanced motor symptoms and drug-resistant psychiatric symptoms, including ICDs, who had undergone ECT. Both before and after ECT, the severity of PD motor symptoms were evaluated using Hoehn and Yahr staging, while psychiatric symptoms were evaluated using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory. The patients' doses of antiparkinsonian and antipsychotic drugs were also assessed before and after ECT.

Results: Both the mean Hoehn and Yahr and Neuropsychiatric Inventory scores were significantly decreased after ECT. The symptoms of ICDs, which were observed in 5 patients, disappeared following ECT. Improvements in motor symptoms and psychiatric symptoms lasted for more than 1 year in 5 cases and 9 cases, respectively. Furthermore, the daily dose of antiparkinsonian drugs was significantly decreased in 6 cases.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that ECT was effective for both severe motor symptoms and psychiatric symptoms in advanced PD patients. ECT might be a solution for the conflicting problem of treating both motor and psychiatric symptoms in PD.