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Original Research

Electroconvulsive Therapy and Cardiovascular Complications in Patients Taking Trazodone for Insomnia

Lois E. Krahn, Carol A. Hanson, Thomas S. Pileggi, and Teresa A. Rummans

Published: February 2, 2001

Article Abstract

Background: Trazodone has been used widely totreat insomnia in depressed patients. When used in combinationwith electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), trazodone has beensuspected to cause cardiovascular side effects.

Method: A retrospective study was done of 100patients who received ECT with concurrent trazodone. One patientwas excluded because permission to review the patient’s recordshad not been given. The remaining 99 patients were matched withcontrol ECT patients.

Results: No statistically significantbetween-group differences were identified in cardiovascular sideeffects, although a trend toward more orthostatic hypotension wasobserved in patients taking trazodone.

Conclusion: Administering low-dose trazodone forinsomnia in conjunction with ECT does not appear to increasecardiovascular complications. The true incidence of adversecardiac events was not higher than 3.66% at a 95% confidencelevel.

Volume: 62

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