Auricular acupuncture reduces the dosage of the depression drug sertraline

Methods: Seventy-two patients with depression were randomly divided into an observation group (36 cases, 1 case dropped off) and a control group (36 cases, 2 cases dropped off). The patients in the control group were treated with conventional dosage reduction method, that is, the dosage of sertraline hydrochloride was reduced by 25% every week until the dosage was stopped completely on the premise of no aggravation of depressive symptoms. Based on the conventional dosage reduction method used in the control group, the patients in the observation group were treated with auricular acupuncture at Xin (CO15), Gan (CO12), Shenmen (TF4), Pizhixia (AT4) and Neifenmi (CO18), once every 3 days for 4 weeks. The reduction of dosage was observed before dosage reduction, after 1, 2, 3, 4 weeks of dosage reduction and follow-up 6 months after the end of treatment; the rate of dosage reduction was observed after 4 weeks of dosage reduction and during follow-up; the Hamilton depression scale (HAMD) was used to evaluate the depression severity before dosage reduction, after 4 weeks of dosage reduction and during follow-up; the incidence rate of withdrawal syndrome and clinical efficacy were compared between the two groups.

Results: The dosage of sertraline hydrochloride in the observation group was less than that in the control group after 2, 3, 4 weeks of dosage reduction and during follow-up (P<0.05). The dosage reduction rates were 80.6% and 82.2% after 4 weeks of dosage reduction and during follow-up in the observation group, which were higher than 65.8% and 62.2% in the control group (P<0.05). After 4 weeks of dosage reduction, the HAMD scores in the two groups were higher than those before dosage reduction (P<0.05), and the HAMD score in the observation group was lower than that in the control group (P<0.05). During follow-up, HAMD score in the observation group was lower than that in the control group and that after 4 weeks of dosage reduction (P<0.05), while HAMD score in the control group was higher than that before dosage reduction and that after 4 weeks of treatment (P<0.05). The incidence rate of withdrawal syndrome in the observation group was 11.4% (4/35), which was lower than 47.1% (16/34) in the control group (P<0.05). After 4 weeks of dosage reduction and during follow-up, the total effective rate was 97.1% (34/35) in the observation group, which was higher than 79.4% (27/34) in the control group (P<0.05).

Conclusion: Auricular acupuncture could effectively reduce the dosage of sertraline hydrochloride, improve the dosage reduction rate, reduce the incidence of withdrawal syndrome and reduce the risk of long-term recurrence in patients with depression.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34491650/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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