Relapses and recurrences of catatonia: 30-case analysis and literature review

Chin-Chuen Lin, Yi-Yung Hung, Meng-Chang Tsai, Tiao-Lai Huang
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2016, 66: 157-65

OBJECTIVE: Relieving catatonia helps identify the underlying etiology and its treatment. However, catatonia may reemerge after some time, but there are few data on the relapses and recurrences of catatonia. We aimed to investigate the characteristics of patients with relapses or recurrences of catatonia as well as the efficacy of the lorazepam-diazepam protocol on them.

METHODS: Patients with catatonia who had more than one episode of catatonia and were treated with the lorazepam-diazepam protocol were identified. Their medical charts were reviewed, and interview was conducted.

RESULTS: Thirty patients were identified. Nineteen (63.3%) were diagnosed with schizophrenia, five (16.7%) with major depressive disorder, two (6.7%) with bipolar disorder, and four (13.3%) with general medical conditions. In the 68 relapses and relapses the lorazepam-diazepam protocol was used, full response was reported in 54 (79.4%) of them. Twelve of 19 (63.2%) patients with schizophrenia were treated with clozapine. Twenty (66.7%) out of 30 patients were maintained on oral lorazepam by the time of discharge. Literature review showed similar prevalence of schizophrenia in patients with more than one episode of catatonia, and a wide variety of treatment options.

CONCLUSION: The lorazepam-diazepam protocol was mostly effective in managing relapses and recurrences of catatonia. Maintenance clozapine and oral lorazepam were beneficial in a significant number of patients.

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