The Efficacy of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Major Depressive Disorder Relapsed or Unresponsive to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Pregnancy: Three Case Studies
Tufan, Ali Evren
Hizli Sayar, Gokben
Gogcegoz Gul, Isil
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About 5-10% of women experience depression during pregnancy. The potentially adverse effects of pharmacological treatment (e.g. teratogenicity, toxicity, foetal developmental abnormalities and withdrawal symptoms) on both the mother and the foetus mean that psychopharmacological treatments have limited application for pregnant women. In these cases treatment needs to be tailored to the individual patient and non-pharmacological options may be appropriate. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) may be viable alternatives for these patients. We report on three patients in their first trimester of pregnancy suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). All three were initially treated with TMS and psychotherapy because of the reduced risk of side effects. Two patients failed to respond adequately to treatment and were switched to ECT. The third patient displayed an adequate response to TMS but failed to maintain the improvement. This patient had to receive ECT in the post-partum period due to on-going depressive symptoms. Subsequently this patient responded adequately to ECT. Further studies of novel, non-pharmacological treatment methods for MDD during pregnancy (such as TMS and ECT) and detailed investigations of the factors associated with treatment responses in such patients are needed. Our cases demonstrate the need to evaluate the effectiveness of TMS in larger samples of pregnant patients diagnosed with MDD.