Berkhamsted Acupuncture research update: Acupuncture, depression and anti-depressants

June 19, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

An interesting study in The Journal of Psychiatric Research has studied the impact of combining acupuncture therapy with a commonly used anti-depressant, paroxetine.

The trial was a 6 week randomized controlled trial with a 4-week follow-up and involved 160 patients with major depressive disorder. The trial participants were randomly assigned to receive either paroxetine alone, or paroxetine combined with 18 sessions of manual acupuncture or electrical acupuncture.

The researchers noted that the addition of manual acupuncture and electro acupuncture produced a significantly greater reduction from baseline in depression scores than the use of paroxetine alone, and that the clinical response was markedly greater in manual acupuncture (69.8%) and electro acupuncture (69.6%) groups than the group treated with paroxetine alone (41.7%). The proportion of patients who required an increase dose of the anti-depressant due to symptom aggravation was significantly lower with manual acupuncture (5.7%) and electro acupuncture (8.9%) than paroxetine alone (22.9%)

At 4 weeks follow-up after the end of their acupuncture treatment, patients with electro acupuncture, but not manual acupuncture, continued to show significantly greater clinical improvement. The incidence of adverse events was not different in the three groups.

The researchers concluded that acupuncture can accelerate the clinical response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and prevent the aggravation of depression, and that in addition electro acupuncture may have a long-lasting enhancement of the antidepressant effect.

 

You can read the full details of the trial here:

http://www.journalofpsychiatricresearch.com/article/S0022-3956(13)00052-6/abstract

 

 

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