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ECT may be better than drugs for short term depression

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7389.569/b (Published 15 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:569
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is more effective than drug treatment for short term depressive illness but may be associated with memory impairment, according to a systematic review published last week in the Lancet (2003;361:799-808).

    Researchers at the University of Oxford reviewed randomised trials comparing ECT with a range of other treatments in patients with depressive illness. The main outcome measures they assessed were depressive symptoms, cognitive function (including memory), and mortality.

    Results from 18 trials (comprising 1144 participants) showed that ECT was significantly more effective than drug treatment (standardised effect size −0.80, 95% confidence interval −1.29 to −0.29). These trials compared ECT with …

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