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J Affect Disord. 2011 Apr;130(1-2):285-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.07.025. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

A pilot study of acupuncture augmentation therapy in antidepressant partial and non-responders with major depressive disorder.

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  • 1Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Acupuncture is widely used for treating major depressive disorder (MDD). There is evidence supporting acupuncture as an antidepressant monotherapy, but its efficacy as augmentation in antidepressant partial and non-responders has not been well-investigated.

METHODS:

Thirty subjects (47% female, mean age 48±11 years) with a history of SCID-diagnosed MDD and partial or non-response after ≥8 weeks of antidepressant therapy were assigned 8 weeks of standardized 30-min open acupuncture augmentation sessions on a weekly (n=24) or twice-weekly (n=6) basis. Change in the Hamilton-D-17 score was the primary outcome measure, and response rates (based on HAM-D-17 score improvement of ≥50%) the secondary outcome.

RESULTS:

Twenty subjects (40% female; 18 in weekly and 2 in twice-weekly treatment) completed the study. In the intent-to-treat (ITT) sample (N=30), HAM-D-17 scores decreased from 18.5±3.8 to 11.2±5.3 in the weekly group (p<0.001), and from 18.5±3.3 to 11.8±4.8 in the twice-weekly group (p=0.03). Improvement did not differ significantly between treatment arms (p=0.76). Response rates were 47% for all ITT subjects, 50% for the weekly group and 33% for the twice-weekly group (p=0.66). The most common side effects included soreness/pain (n=7), bruising (n=4), and mild bleeding (n=1) at the needle site. One subject discontinued because of side effects (pain).

LIMITATIONS:

Open design, small sample, polypharmacy with antidepressants.

CONCLUSIONS:

Once or twice-weekly acupuncture augmentation was safe, well-tolerated and effective in antidepressant partial and non-responders, suggesting good feasibility in outpatient settings. Replication in controlled trials is warranted.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20692042
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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