Electroconvulsive Therapy Treatment in a Patient With Neurosyphilis and Psychotic Disorder: Case Report and Literature Review

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Abstract

Syphilis is an infectious disease caused by Treponema pallidum that presents clinically in different ways. Over recent years, an upsurge of new cases of syphilis has been reported, often in combination with human immunodeficiency virus infection. The clinical picture is changing because of the widespread use of antibiotics, and psychiatric manifestations may be the main reason why patients seek medical help. In most cases, treatment with penicillin and psychotropic medication is effective. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is rarely used for the psychiatric manifestations of neurosyphilis: we identified only 19 cases in the literature. We report here on a 40-year-old man newly diagnosed with neurosyphilis during hospitalization for a psychotic state with depression and also review the literature. He was treated with 2 courses of penicillin and several antipsychotics. The ECT was indicated because he failed to respond well to antipsychotic treatment and developed a high risk of dangerous behavior. A series of 8 sessions of ECT rapidly relieved the psychotic symptoms.

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