Acupuncture/ pressureAnxiety (Panic)/Depression

Acupuncture not better than “placebo” for major depression

Major depressive disorder (aka clinical, major, and unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood with low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.

Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto, Ontario studied the response to a 2-point electroacupuncture protocol (verum acupuncture).

First, the details.

  • 53 adults with mild or moderate major depressive disorder and a score of 14 or higher on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 6 to 8 weeks.
    • Real electroacupuncture for 12, 30-minute sessions
    • Control acupuncture
  • Patients were excluded if they had severe depression, a seizure disorder or at risk for seizure disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder, chronic major depression, treatment-resistant depression, and history of substance abuse in the prior 6 months.

And, the results.

  • Both groups improved.
  • There were no serious side effects associated with either treatment.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Electroacupuncture and control acupuncture were equally well tolerated, and both resulted in similar absolute and relative improvement in depressive symptoms as measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale.”

Others have reviewed the evidence and come to conflicting conclusions about the value of acupuncture to treat depression, as discussed here.

6/10/11 22:05 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.