Clinical Neuroscience

[The impact of neuroleptic medication on seizure threshold and duration in electroconvulsive therapy]

GAZDAG Gábor, BARNA István, IVÁNYI Zsolt, TOLNA Judit

DECEMBER 10, 2004

Clinical Neuroscience - 2004;57(11-12)

[Introduction - In most patients diagnosed with psychotic depression or schizophrenia and treated with electroconvulsive therapy, parallelly administered antipsychotic medication cannot be stopped. Antipsychotic drugs can influence both seizure threshold and seizure activity in different ways. Patients and method - The present study processes the data of 77 patients treated parallelly with electroconvulsive therapy and antipsychotic drugs. Oral doses of the antipsychotic medication administered the day before the electroconvulsive therapy, stimulus intensity, seizure durations, and impedance were analysed from session to session. Results - One group of antipsychotics (haloperidol, fluphenazine, risperidone, sulpirid) was not found to influence seizure activity: there was no significant difference in EEG and EMG registered seizure duration or in stimulus intensity between the treated and non-treated group. However, significant difference was found between the next treated and non-treated groups in 40% of the sessions in case of olanzapine, in 50% of the sessions in case of clozapine and in 57% of the sessions in case of zuclopenthixol in EEG or EMG registered seizure duration as well as in stimulus intensity. In the third group (quetiapine) there was a significant difference in each session (2nd session: EMG, p=0.02; 5th session: EEG, p=0.05, EMG, p=0.04). Most of the antipsychotics (olanzapine, clozapine, zuclopenthixol) have been shown to possess epileptogenic properties; only quetiapine reduces seizure activity. Conclusion - In the clinical use of olanzapine, clozapine and zuclopenthixol seems epileptogenic, whereas in the case of quetiapine seizure reducing properties must be taken into account. Together with the consideration of the accompanying somatic and neurologic disturbances and with the concomitant medications this can influence the treatment of choice.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[Temozolomide chemotherapy of patients with recurrent anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas]

SIPOS László, VITANOVICS Dusan, ÁFRA Dénes

[Introduction - Anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas are the most frequent and most malignant hemispherial tumours. Unfortunately, astrocytic tumours are of infiltrative character and radical removal is not possible. Recurrent malignant gliomas are rarely suitable for reoperation. In most of the cases of recurrent gliomas chemotherapy is the last choice. Patients and method - Seventy-five consecutive patients with recurrent malignant astrocytomas and glioblastomas had been treated at our institute with per os temozolomide for five days every month. The patients received two to 16 courses of chemotherapy. The toxicity, quality of life, response to chemotherapy and survival data were analysed. Results - Out of 75 patients four were excluded following the first treatment due to myelotoxicity, and allergic reactions. Among the patients treated with temozolomide in seven cases complete response, 17 partial response, 14 progressive disease were observed. In 33 cases the disease stabilized and out of them in 27% a significant neurological improvement was detected. The time to progression was 6.8 months and the median survival time 8.75 months for patients with glioblastoma and with malignant astrocytoma or malignant mixed oligoastrocytoma 9.45 and 11.15 months, respectively. The overall survival for patients with originally lower grade glioma was 70.32 and for patients with glioblastoma multiforme 17.43 months. Conclusions - Temozolomide chemotherapy in patients with recurrent malignant astrocytoma and glioblastoma proved to be efficacious and similar good results were achieved as with a nitrosourea based combined chemotherapy. Even in those patients who received previous chemotherapy temozolomide is well tolerated and a relatively long time to progression was achieved in cases of recurrent malignant gliomas. In a few number of patients where BCNU had been previously failed with temozolomide stable disease was achieved. Temozolomide seems to be a promising drug in the chemotherapy of malignant gliomas and can be applied as a second line chemotherapy, as well.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Dizziness - vertigo Warning symptoms in vertebrobasilar ischemia - Part I. ]

FAZEKAS András

[Dizziness and vertigo - like headache - are the most common complaints which leads patients to visit the doctor. In spite of the headache - which may be primary (e.g. migraine) or symptomatic - dizziness and vertigo do not appear to be a separate nosologic entity but rather the symptoms of several neurological disorders. For differential diagnosis, interdisciplinary thinking and activity is needed because the vestibular, neurological and psychiatric disorders might have a common role in the development of symptoms and further overlapping can also occur. The vascular disorders of the vertebrobasilar system are discussed in detail in this review. The importance, occurrence and causes of vertigo as a warning symptom is in the focus. The author draws attention to life-threatening conditions with acute onset in cases of the posterior scale ischemia and emphasizes the importance of the correct and early diagnosis. The author tries to clear up the nihilistic aspect in treating of stroke and stresses the necessity of thrombolysis and interventional radiological procedures which may be the only chance for the recovery of the patients. The pharmacological prevention of recurrent vascular events is also important and obligatory for the clinicians.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Early onset dementias: Case studies]

MERKLI Hajnalka, PÁL Endre, GÁTI István, KOSZTOLÁNYI Péter, KÖVÉR Ferenc

[Introduction - Dementia is a decline of intellectual abilities. The etiology of dementia syndrome is diverse. The authors describe three patients with early-onset dementia. Case reports - The first patient was a 44 years old male with mild gait, body ataxia, memory loss, slowness and apathy. Investigations proved AIDS dementia syndrome. In the second case of a 37 years old female patient, herpes simplex encephalitis was suspected due to sudden onset of speech arrest and to brain MRI and CSF findings. Her symptoms improved during antiviral treatment but later progressive dementia developed. CSF serological tests proved the presence of neurolues-dementia paralytica. The third patient was a 38-years-old female. Neurological examination was performed because of progressive memory loss, changed behaviour and impaired attention. Neuropsychological test showed severe dementia. Metachromatic leukodystrophy was proven by decreased arylsulfatase activity. Conclusions - It is not easy to recognize the early symptoms of dementia. In these cases, besides detailed history, neurological examination and neuropsychological tests, brain MRI and cerebral spinal fluid serological tests were indispensable for a correct diagnosis, especially in the young patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Immunomodulatory treatment in multiple sclerosis ]

CSÉPÁNY Tünde, BERECZKI Dániel

[During the past decade, several disease-modifying agents have been established and have become available for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The disease-modifying agents could be grouped into immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive therapies altering the long-term course of multiple sclerosis. Therapy is now available for relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive and progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis. Different disease-modifying agents became also available for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in Hungary which makes the therapeutic decision difficult. This overview might help to give an answer for different questions in the management of multiple sclerosis: Which agent to choose? When to initiate the therapy? Which dose to apply? Are the drugs safe? How long to treat the patients with immunomodulatory drugs? We give a review from the literature to assess the efficacy of disease-modifying therapies and to compare the data from phase three trials of interferon β1b, two preparations of interferon β1a or glatiramer acetate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. We analyzed the efficacy and safety of these agents on physical, inflammatory and cognitive measures of disease activity. Comparison of study results indicated similar effects of immunomodulatory agents on relapse-related and inflammatory measures in relapsing multiple sclerosis. Interferon β1a slowed the progression of disability in relapsing multiple sclerosis. One interferon β1a preparation (intramuscularly injected) demonstrated efficacy in slowing progression of cognitive dysfunction. The interferons reduced relapses at early phase of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, but their efficacy have not yet been proven in the later phase of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis without relapses. Mitoxantrone demonstrated efficacy in slowing the progression of disability in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. All of the disease modifying agents are safe and tolerable, if the indication is correct and the patients are strictly controlled.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[New chapter in visual evoked potential studies - Clinical application of the multifocal vep method ]

JANÁKY Márta, PÁLFFY Andrea, BENEDEK Krisztina, BENEDEK György

[The multifocal visual evoked potentials are the evoked responses over the visual cortex in response to the stimulation of circumscribed small areas in the central 30 degree region of the retina. The recording of multifocal visual evoked potentials was made possible by the computer algorhythm elaborated by Sutter in 1991. Multifocal electroretinograpy, developed upon the same theoretical principles, is already an routine clinical examination method for the topographic analysis of functional damages in the central part of the retina and for the differential diagnostics in neuro-ophthalmology. The multifocal visual evoked potential, however, has not been introduced into the clinical practice, although it displays the function of ganglion cells in a given region of the retina in a more detailed way than the sensitivity threshold in the perimetry. This examination makes the objective verification of defects possible in the visual pathway, too. In our department the recording of multifocal visual evoked potentials was started in 2002. In this paper we present the basics of this method and also deal with the problems concerning its application and its status in the history of visual evoked potentials.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

[The public’s attitudes towards electroconvulsive therapy in Hungary ]

ASZTALOS Márton, KÖNYE Péter, GAZDAG Gábor

[This research focused on the knowledge and attitude toward to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the general population of Hungary. There are only a few studies in the international literature focusing on the public’s attitude towards ECT, and no such study has been published from Hungary. Participants were reached through social media and asked to fill out a semi-structured questionnaire on internet that comprised seventeen questions. Participation in the survey was entirely voluntary and anonymous. Participants of the survey were not working in health care; their answers to the questionnaire were compared to those of health-care workers. The result showed a significant difference between healthcare workers’ and lay people’s knowledge and attitude towards ECT. Two third of lay participants have never heard about ECT. Those familiar with ECT were relatively well-informed about its certain aspects yet rejection of ECT was significantly higher in the group of lay participants than in health-care workers. Lay people’s incomplete knowledge and negative attitude towards ECT was confirmed by this survey. The dissemination of reliable information – which should be the shared responsibility of mental health professionals and the media – would be vitally important to disperse the prejudices and doubts about ECT.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The use of ECT for epileptic patient]

FARKAS Márta, BARAN Brigitta, KÁRPÁTI Róbert, RAJNA Péter

[Psychiatric disorders which indicate the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) also occur in epileptic patients, but there is a lack of medical authority concerning the use of ECT in epileptic patients. This is surprising because in recent years it has been proved that ECT has an anti-convulsive effect to some degree. A case study of an epileptic patient is presented whose progress has been monitored for several years. Antiepileptic drugs were seemingly able to control his epilepsy but at the same time progressive behavioural disturbance (schizophreniform psychosis) accompanied by agitation and violent behaviour developed. Considering the recurrent psychotic decompensations and the relative ineffectiveness of antipsychotics, the authors decided to administer ECT. As a result they were able to bring about the longest symptom free balanced period in the patient. According to the data based on previous medical studies and the experience they can suppose that ECT is not immediately contraindicated by the presence of epilepsy with active interictal focus if the psychopathological condition makes it necessary. In view of the epileptogenic risk factors of classical neuroleptics, the epileptogenic effects of accompanying psychosis and the probable anticonvulsive potential of ECT in cases of severe psychiatric complications accompanying epilepsy ECT could be used more frequently.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Pharmacotherapy of dementia ]

PÁKÁSKI Magdolna, KÁLMÁN János

[The goal of treatment of dementia-related disorders is to reserve cognitive and functional ability, minimize behavioral and psychological disturbances, and slow disease progression, since currently available therapies can not reverse the pathologic processes. Among them, the most common is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. The authors review the therapeutic guidelines of these dementia types adapted to Hungarian conditions. Cho­li­nesterase inhibitors represent first-line therapy for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, whereas a glutamate N-metil-D-aspartate antagonist is used in the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. In milder stages, phar­macotherapy may be supplemented by the use of nootropics. The progression slowing drugs have not only impact on cognitive symptoms but also affect behavioral and psychological symptoms. De­pen­ding on the severity of dementia and the existence of behavioral and psychological symptoms, these medicines may be re­commended as monotherapy or in combination. To further alleviate behavioral and psychological symptoms a variety non-pharmacological methods are known, at present their effectiveness has not been proven. Antipsychotics may be used to reduce agitation and aggression. Taking into account the side effects profile of antipsychotics, tiapride or risperidon ad­mi­nistration can be considered. In the case of their ineffectiveness, haloperidol may be used. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[THE AUGMENTATION OF CLOZAPINE TREATMENT WITH ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY]

GAZDAG Gábor, KOCSIS-FICZERE Nárcisz, TOLNA Judit

[Objectives - The assessment, in terms of safety and efficacy, of augmenting clozapine monotherapy, as well as combined psychopharmacotherapy involving clozapine, with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Method - Reviewed were the charts of patients who received clozapine-ECT treatment in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of Semmelweis University between November 1999 and December 2003. Results - During the studied period there were altogether 43 patients treated with the combination of clozapine and electroconvulsive therapy. In the schizoaffective group, the values for post-electroconvulsive therapy CGI were significantly lower than either in the catatonic (Z=-3.72, p<0.01) or in the hebephrenic (Z=-3.17, p<0.01) group. Among the groups created on the basis of the number of augmentation strategies utilized, the clozapine+3 group consisted of patients significantly older than the clozapine+1 group (Z=2.45, p=0.01). In the clozapine monotherapy group, the values for post-electroconvulsive therapy CGI were significantly lower than in any of the groups that had received a combination of augmentations (monotherapy-1 augmentation: Z=-3.01, p<0.01; monotherapy-2 augmentation: Z=-2.89, p<0.01; monotherapy- 3 augmentation: Z=-2.41, p=0.01). Conclusions - According to our examinations, the augmentation of clozapine treatment with electroconvulsive therapy should be tried primarily on schizoaffective patients, in case the clozapine monotherapy is ineffective. The simultaneous use of different augmentation strategies is expected to increase only the side effects not the efficacy of the treatment.]