ECT Resistance and Early Relapse: Two Cases of Subsequent Response to Venlafaxine

Aline J. Iodice, W. Vaughn McCall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Many depressed patients who fail to respond to numerous trials of antidepressant medications are ultimately referred for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, a complete response does not occur in all depressed patients referred for ECT. The erroneous portrayal of ECT as a 'last ditch' treatment of depression leads to predictable despair if ECT fails or if early relapse occurs after a brief response. Therapeutic nihilism is not warranted in these cases. There is evidence in the literature that patients who fail to respond to adequate trials of antidepressant medications prior to ECT failure or early relapse subsequently respond to psychopharmacological treatment with high doses of venlafaxine. The following two case reports provide examples of depressed patients who subsequently responded to high doses of venlafaxine after demonstrating resistance to ECT, or experiencing rapid relapse after successful ECT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-241
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Early relapse
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • High dose venlafaxine
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Treatment resistant depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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