As a common mental disorder, depression is one of the leading causes of disability around the world. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective therapy without obvious side effects compared to limited efficacy and adverse reactions of drug therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and neuromodulation technology in treating depression.
The objective of this review is to systematically evaluate whether acupuncture therapies for depression are safe and effective in order to provide a high-quality reference for clinical trials of acupuncture. A systematic search of the literature was carried out through bibliographic search engine PubMed. Subsequently, the study design, intervention methods, control group, results, and safety of acupuncture were analyzed.
The results showed that acupuncture as an adjunct to antidepressants or as a single treatment can exert a positive impact on patients’ depressive symptoms.
Compared with antidepressants, acupuncture has the advantages of fast onset and long-term efficacy in the treatment of depression, and can enhance the efficacy of antidepressants. Moreover, the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in the treatment of depression maybe related to the qualification of the acupuncturist, the selection of acupoints, and intervention measures.