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Denver, Colorado 80210


This randomized, placebo-controlled trial will evaluate the use of donepezil compared to placebo to reduce the risk of memory impairment after electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Study summary:

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a method used to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions. An electrical current is distributed throughout the brain (Lisanby 2007) inducing seizure activity in a controlled setting using neuromuscular blocking agents (Mirzakhani 2012) while the patient is under anesthesia (Deiner 2009). ECT is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the following conditions: unipolar and bipolar depression, manic and mixed states in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder and catatonia (FDA executive summary). ECT is often used after trials of psychotropic medications have failed (Kellner 2012). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is commonly associated with cognitive side effects that range from anterograde and retrograde amnesia to issues with executive function, attention and declines in information processing. Problems with autobiographical memory and recall for new information appear to be affected the most. In addition, data suggests that the loss of memory of autobiographical events may persist as long as six months. These issues may cause patient adherence problems and potential relapses into previous psychiatric conditions. Donepezil is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor indicated for Alzheimer's Dementia and has been shown to slow the progressive decline in cognition and memory in Alzheimer's Dementia. It is hypothesized that donepezil will help to preserve memory and minimize the decline in memory that is associated with the administration of ECT. This study aims to determine if donepezil can minimize deficiencies in autobiographical memory 4-5 weeks after ECT treatment has been started.


Inclusion Criteria: - Diagnosis of major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar depression who are receiving right unilateral ECT will be included. Exclusion Criteria: - Patients with previous use of alcohol or illicit drugs within seven days of randomization will be excluded. Preexisting unstable cardiovascular disease including uncontrolled hypertension will be excluded. Patients with a documented allergy to donepezil will also be excluded. Patients with axis I disorders (eg. schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder) other than major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders and/or bipolar depression will be excluded. Patients on anticoagulant therapy or chronic NSAID therapy will be excluded. Patients who are pregnant or wish to become pregnant within one year from trial enrollment will also be excluded. Patients who have received ECT within 6 months of enrollment will be excluded. Baseline Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) < 24 will be excluded.



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Robin Wackernah, Pharm.D.

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Denver, Colorado 80210
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: November 18, 2019

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