Atropine coma: A historical note

G. Gazdag, I. Bitter, Gábor Ungvári, József Gerevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Insulin coma and various types of convulsive therapies were the major biologic treatment modalities in psychiatry before the psychopharmacological era. Except for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), these methods disappeared from the psychiatric armamentarium after the introduction of psychotropic drugs. Atropine coma therapy (ACT) was one variety of nonconvulsive coma therapy used from the 1950s in a few state mental hospitals in the United States and in several Middle- and Eastern European countries until the late 1970s. In ACT, a coma of 6-10 hours' duration was induced with doses of parenteral atropine sulfate that were hundreds of times greater than the therapeutic dose administered in internal medicine. Although ACT was given to thousands of patients with a variety of diagnoses for nearly 3 decades, it is rarely mentioned, even in papers on the history of psychiatry. The method, indications, contra-indications and adverse effects of ACT are summarized together with patients' personal accounts. Hypotheses concerning its mode of action are briefly mentioned. The reasons why ACT never gained wider acceptance are explored in the context of both contemporary psychiatric practice and the broader sociocultural climate of the era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-206
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005

Fingerprint

Coma
Atropine
Psychiatry
Therapeutics
Insulin Coma
Convulsive Therapy
State Hospitals
Electroconvulsive Therapy
Psychotropic Drugs
Psychiatric Hospitals
Internal Medicine
Climate
History

Keywords

  • Atropine coma therapy
  • History
  • Method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Atropine coma : A historical note. / Gazdag, G.; Bitter, I.; Ungvári, Gábor; Gerevich, József.

In: Journal of ECT, Vol. 21, No. 4, 12.2005, p. 203-206.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gazdag, G. ; Bitter, I. ; Ungvári, Gábor ; Gerevich, József. / Atropine coma : A historical note. In: Journal of ECT. 2005 ; Vol. 21, No. 4. pp. 203-206.
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