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January 27, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(4):322-324. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810040032009

Convulsive shock therapy has been very enthusiastically endorsed by many workers and critically condemned by others. Its exact status as a permanent therapeutic agent in neuropsychiatry is yet to be determined. The follow-up studies after convulsive shock treatment of schizophrenic reaction types are not very encouraging, since relapses are frequent. Hypoglycemic shock therapy seems preferable. However, in chronic affective disorders of both the depressive and the manic types, the favorable sustained improvements from convulsive shock are more encouraging.1 Midlife and presenile depressive states are terminated in the large majority of cases by convulsive therapy.2 The cases of schizophrenia that respond best to this type of treatment are likewise admixture types with affective components.

For convulsive shock most workers use a convulsant dose of metrazol (pentamethylenetetrazol). Other convulsant drugs in use are triazol,3 picrotoxin4 and coriamyrtin.5 Preliminary reports6 indicate that all these methods are therapeutically effective.

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