Acupuncture combined with antidepressants, is more effective for improving depression than antidepressants alone, reports an international team from the US and China. Sixty patients aged 18 to 70 with moderate depression were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture (including some electroacupuncture) plus antidepressants, or just antidepressants alone. Acupuncture was given three times a week for eight weeks, with follow up for four further weeks.
Compared with the control group, the acupuncture group showed lower depression symptom scores at week 4 (17 versus 26), week 8 (10 versus 25), and week 12 (11 versus 27). Patients also had their urine screened for key metabolites. The significant differences found between the two groups, suggest say the researchers, that acupuncture may help depression by acting on metabolic pathways associated with neurotransmitter production.
(The effect of acupuncture on depression and its correlation with metabolic alterations: A randomized controlled trial. Medicine (Baltimore), 23 October 2020.)