Acupuncture and counseling improved outcomes among patients with moderate to severe depression in the United Kingdom, according to data from a randomized trial.
Researchers from the University of York in the UK recruited patients with depression from 27 primary care practices in northern England and randomly assigned participants to acupuncture (n=302), counseling (n=302) or usual care (n=151) to determine the efficacy and cost effectiveness of various treatments. The condition is normally treated using antidepressants and counseling. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are some of commonly prescribed antidepressants.
There were statistically significant reductions in PHQ-9 assessment scores in the acupuncture and counseling groups vs. usual care at three months (–2.46 points for acupuncture, P<.001; –1.73 points for counseling, P=.008). Scores were similar during 12 months: –1.55 points in the acupuncture group and –1.5 in the counseling group. However, there was no significant difference in scores between the acupuncture and counseling groups (P=.41).
"These findings suggest that, compared to usual care alone, both acupuncture and counseling when provided alongside usual care provided significant benefits at three months in primary care to patients with recurring depression," the researchers wrote.