Acupuncture/ pressureAlcoholism/Drug Abuse

Review of acupuncture to treat alcohol dependence

Acupuncture has been used in the treatment of substance-related disorders for the past 30 years.

Researchers at Kyung Hee University Medical Center, in Seoul, Korea, reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • 11 studies in 1,110 people were systematically reviewed.
  • Only 2 of 11 studies were of high quality.

And, the results.

  • 4 studies of acupuncture vs sham treatments reported data for alcohol craving.
    • 3 studies reported no significant differences.
  • 4 trials compared acupuncture and no acupuncture to conventional therapies
    • 3 reported significant reductions.
  • No differences between acupuncture and sham treatments were found for completion rates.
    • There were also no differences between acupuncture and no acupuncture.
  • Only 3 studies reported acupuncture-related side effects, which were mostly minimal.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “The results of the included studies were equivocal.”

After 30 years we should expect more.

4/13/10 21:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.