Friday, May 17, 2013

Acupuncture and Major Depressive Disorder


S.S. and colleagues presented a study on acupuncture in patients with major depressive disorder: “A 6-week randomized controlled trial with 4-week follow-up of acupuncture combined with paroxetine in patients with major depressive disorder.” Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23498306  

The authors start: “Acupuncture possesses the antidepressant potential.” That’s an unproven statement! They came to this conclusion: “Our study indicates that acupuncture can accelerate the clinical response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and prevent the aggravation of depression. Electrical acupuncture may have a long-lasting enhancement of the antidepressant effects (Trial Registration: ChiCTR-TRC-08000278).” No, that’s what the authors want and not what the study tells. The study lacks a real control group. It only tells that if you give special attention (18 sessions of manual acupuncture or electrical acupuncture) on top of paroxetine, you can “accelerate the clinical response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and prevent the aggravation of depression.” You might even do more – instead of 18 acupuncture sessions you can try 18 individual sessions with a psychologist.

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