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J Affect Disord. 2000 Jan-Mar;57(1-3):73-81.

The benefit from whole body acupuncture in major depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Mainz, Untere Zahlbacher Str. 8, 55101, Mainz, Germany.



In a single-blind placebo-controlled study design we investigated the efficacy of acupuncture additionally applied to drug treatment in major depression.


We randomly included 70 inpatients with a major depressive episode in three different treatment groups: verum acupuncture, placebo acupuncture and a control group. All three groups were pharmacologically treated with the antidepressant mianserin. The verum group received acupuncture at specific points considered effective in the treatment of depression. The placebo group was treated with acupuncture at non-specific locations and the control group received pharmacological treatment plus clinical management. Acupuncture was applied three times a week over a period of 4 weeks. Psychopathology was rated by judges blind to verum/placebo conditions twice a week over 8 weeks.


Patients who experienced acupuncture improved slightly more than patients treated with mianserin alone.


Additionally applied acupuncture improved the course of depression more than pharmacological treatment with mianserin alone. However, we could not detect any differences between placebo and verum acupuncture.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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