Cognitive impairment and electroconvulsive therapy in geriatric depression, what could be the role of Rivastigmine? A case series

A.M.C.G. van Schaik, D. Rhebergen, M.J. Henstra, D.J. Kadouch, E. van Exel, M.L. Stek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), albeit highly effective in treating depression, is frequently associated with cognitive impairment, either temporary or more persistent. Especially in older patients, who generally respond even better, serious cognitive impairment during the course of ECT may lead to premature termination of ECT. Treatment of this cognitive impairment is of utmost importance. In this case series report, we present the effect of rivastigmine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, on cognitive impairment in three older, severely depressed patients during or after a course of ECT. An improvement of cognitive functioning, in particular a decline of confusional symptoms, was observed in two patients with structural brain alterations associated with aging. In the other patient, who suffered primarily from amnesia, no effect of rivastigmine was observed. These preliminary results emphasize the need for detailed profiling of cognitive impairment when developing a research design to study the potential benefits of rivastigmine in the prevention or treatment of cognitive impairment in severely depressed patients treated with ECT
Original languageEnglish
Article number780
Pages (from-to)780
JournalClinics and Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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