Medical Research

Acupuncture for Depression: British Study

Kristen Sparrow • October 22, 2013

isams logoNice study showing effectiveness and cost effectiveness for Acupuncture for Depression in the UK by Dr. Stewart Richmond.  A summary of the article is found on Medical News website here. Abstract hereStewart Richmond
The point Rx is, from my notes:  Lr3, Sp6, GB20, GB34, CV4, then Lr3 +Sp6 LI4, TE5  (This may not be quite right, from my scribbled notes…)
Power point presentation here. Stewart Richmond_ppt

755 patients with moderate to severe depression were enrolled into the study from UK medical practices, which exceeded the recruitment target by 18%. Participants were randomised to receive either: twelve sessions of acupuncture plus usual care (n=302); twelve sessions of counselling plus usual care (n = 302); or usual care alone (n=151). Analysis was by intention to treat. Results: Participants in the acupuncture arm attended ten sessions on average, compared with nine sessions for those allocated to counselling. Results for the primary outcome measure, the Patient Health Questionnaire at 3 months, showed that acupuncture was more effective that usual care (-2.46, 95% CI -3.72 to -1.21) for alleviating depression, and that the magnitude of this effect was similar to, if not slightly greater than, that of counselling (−1.73, 95%CI: −3.00 to −0.45). Compared with usual care, acupuncture cost £3,417 per quality adjusted life year (QALY), and counselling cost £5,412/QALY. Conclusions: Both acupuncture and counselling represent clinically effective treatment options for managing depression, although acupuncture was found to be more cost-effective. 

In speaking with attendees afterwards, they said that acupuncture may not be recommended by the NICE (British National Health board) because there was no control arm for the acupuncture.  You can’t just compare acupuncture to counselling, there has to be some sort of sham arm. Grr.