American researchers have completed a pilot study suggesting that acupuncture may be a useful adjunct to drug treatment in patients with depression, who are not responding to anti-depressant drugs alone.
Thirty patients (47% female and average age 48) with major depressive disorder, and partial or non-response to drug treatment after eight or more weeks, were given acupuncture for eight weeks, on either a weekly or twice-weekly basis. Twenty patients completed the study, and depression scores in both groups decreased significantly (18.5 to 11.5 on average). Response rates (defined as an improvement of 50% or more in depression score) were 47%. The authors concluded that acupuncture was safe, well-tolerated and effective, and may be useful in out-patient settings.
(A Pilot Study of Acupuncture Augmentation Therapy in Anti-Depressant Partial & Non-Responders with Major Depressive Disorder. Journal of Affect Disorders, April 2011.)