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March 5, 1938

THE TREATMENT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA WITH METRAZOL BY THE PRODUCTION OF CONVULSIONS

Author Affiliations

ELGIN, ILL.

From the Elgin State Hospital and the Department of Nervous and Mental Diseases, Northwestern University Medical School.

JAMA. 1938;110(10):706-709. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790100004002
Abstract

Putting into practice his hypothesis that schizophrenia and epilepsy are biologically antagonistic entities, Meduna1 attempted to bring about a remission of schizophrenia by the production of epileptiform seizures. He began his experiments by using camphor in oil but later used pentamethylenetetrazol (metrazol) because of its greater reliability as a convulsant drug. He treated with this method 110 schizophrenic patients, of whom fifty-four had a remission. This is a percentage of about 50 per cent, which exceeds the percentage reported for spontaneous remissions from almost all clinics. Moreover, when the remissions are classified according to duration of the disease, the percentage rises to 90 per cent, for patients who were ill less than one year. Regardless of the validity of Meduna's theory that epilepsy and schizophrenia are biologically antagonistic disease entities, the high percentage of therapeutic results which he reported merited further investigation. His results have been corroborated by Wahlmann,

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