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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:286048. doi: 10.1155/2013/286048. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Acupuncture for Depression: Patterns of Diagnosis and Treatment within a Randomised Controlled Trial.

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1
Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In a large randomised controlled trial of acupuncture, counselling, or usual care for depression, we document the acupuncture intervention and explore the relationship between traditional acupuncture diagnosis and outcome.

METHODS:

Patients who were continuing to experience depression were recruited from primary care to the ACUDep trial (n = 755). Practitioners documented for each patient the traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis, the points needled, and additional components of the treatment, such as lifestyle advice, as recommended by the STRICTA guidelines.

RESULTS:

Over an 18-month period, 23 acupuncturists delivered 2741 treatments to 266 patients, an average of 10 sessions per patient. The primary and secondary zang fu syndromes were identified for 99% of patients. When combining primary and secondary diagnoses, there was a predominant Liver Qi Stagnation cluster (66% of patients) and a Spleen Deficiency cluster (34%). Practitioners sought de qi responses 96% of the time. Lifestyle advice was given to 66% of patients, most commonly dietary. When comparing patient outcomes, no significant differences were found between the two main syndrome clusters.

CONCLUSION:

In this large-scale trial, our documentation of diagnosis and treatment provides a useful snapshot of common patterns that patients present with when continuing to experience depression after consulting in primary care.

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