It is estimated that 1 in 20 Canadians report some form of depression every year, which makes it Canada’s fastest-rising diagnosis. In the United Kingdom, it is the third most common reason for primary care consultation, meanwhile up to 60% of patients have an inadequate response to antidepressants, and 30% do not adhere to their medication regimen. Therefore it becomes important to explore nonpharmacologic treatment options. Although acupuncture is frequently used for the treatment of depression by acupuncturists, it is rarely used in mainstream medicine.
A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture and counseling showed that both treatments demonstrated a statistically significant symptom reduction at 3 months. This study involved 755 patients with recurring bouts of moderate to severe depression.
“To our knowledge, our study is the first to rigorously evaluate the clinical and economic impact of acupuncture and counselling for patients in primary care who are representative of those who continue to experience depression in primary care,” the authors write.
A cost-effectiveness analysis of the treatments was also conducted, the results of which will be published in a separate article.
Published online September 24, 2013. Full article