Electroconvulsive Therapy for Severe Neuropsychiatric Lupus With Psychosis

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Abstract

Objective

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that requires long-term management and can have a profound impact on the quality of life of patients. Among patients with SLE, neuropsychiatric manifestations are fairly common, occurring in up to 75% of patients with SLE. Neuropsychiatric symptoms of SLE (NPSLE) presenting with psychosis, however, is less common, with a prevalence of up to 11%. Treatment of psychosis in NPSLE has largely involved antipsychotics and immunosuppressants, with not much in the literature about the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a method of treatment.

Methods

We report 3 cases of patients who presented with psychosis during a lupus relapse, who were treated successfully with ECT after their symptoms did not improve on medical treatment.

Results and Conclusion

Although all 3 patients were treated with antipsychotics and immunosuppressants simultaneously with the ECT sessions, the time scale of these 3 case studies suggests that ECT played a role in the resolution of these patients’ symptoms. Our 3 cases highlight that ECT can be safely and effectively used in patients with NPSLE with prominent psychotic symptoms.

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