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January 1954

SUCCINYLCHOLINE CHLORIDE IN ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY: I. Clinical Use

Author Affiliations

DURHAM, N. C.

From the Department of Psychiatry and Division of Anesthesiology, Duke University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(1):122-127. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320370124011
Abstract

THE PREVENTION of the complications of electroshock therapy has long been a serious problem in psychiatry. The treatment of older patients has been particularly dangerous because of the high incidence of osteoporosis, which makes the patient more susceptible to fractures, and cardiovascular disease, which makes the patient more sensitive to asphyxia. The muscle-relaxing drug curare has been extensively used since 1940,1 but its use has definite disadvantages. The action of the drug is prolonged, 10-40 minutes, and its histamine-like side-effects may result in arterial hypotension. It has practical limitations because its long action requires the time of extra personnel.

Recent researches * in the use of the synthetic muscle-relaxing drugs have shown that succinylcholine chloride may be useful in electroshock therapy. This drug was first found to have muscle-relaxant effect by Bovet and co-workers in 1949.2

It is a white odorless crystalline substance which is readily soluble in water.

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