BACKGROUND Concurrent use of lithium and ECT is suspected to increase neurotoxicity.
METHOD A retrospective case-control study over an eight-year period was conducted to investigate the adverse effects of a combined lithium/ECT treatment. Thirty-one subjects with combined lithium/ECT treatment were compared with a control group (ECT only) of 135 cases matched for age and sex.
RESULTS Most cases in both groups had no adverse effects. Three (10%) study group subjects and 15 (11%) controls experienced brief delirium. Three controls and none of the subjects developed a prolonged confusion. There were no significant differences in the profile of other adverse effects between the two groups.
CONCLUSION Prescription of lithium together with ECT was not associated with higher frequency of adverse effects.