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Maternal Acupuncture for Substance Abuse

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
University of British Columbia Identifier:
First received: September 21, 2005
Last updated: May 13, 2011
Last verified: May 2011
To determine the efficacy of daily maternal acupuncture treatments in reducing the frequency and severity of neonatal abstinence syndrome among infants born to substance-using women..

Condition Intervention Phase
Substance Addiction Procedure: Acupuncture Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Can Maternal Acupuncture for Chemically Dependent Pregnant Women Reduce the Severity of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome? - A Randomized Controlled Trial

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of British Columbia:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Days of newborn morphine treatment [ Time Frame: Unspecified ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Gestational age at birth, rates of intrauterine growth restriction, days to regain birthweight, rates of admission to a level II or level III nursery and length of stay, and rates of apprehension of the infant by the Ministry of Children and Families [ Time Frame: Unspecified ]

Enrollment: 89
Study Start Date: August 2005
Study Completion Date: August 2008
Primary Completion Date: August 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Procedure: Acupuncture
    See Detailed Description.
Detailed Description:

Potential study subjects will be recruited from the Chemical Dependency Unit by a trial coordinator. After obtaining written informed consent, the coordinator will take a sequentially numbered opaque envelope from a box on the unit. This envelope will contain a card indicating the treatment group to which the woman is allocated. Women participating in the treatment group of our study will have access to a quiet room furnished with comfortable reclining chairs. The acupuncturist will swab the ears with alcohol and insert sterile, disposable needles. Following the treatment, which is 45-minutes in length, participants will remove the needles themselves and place them in protective sharps boxes. A sham acupuncture procedure will not be used. Chinese traditional medicine does not include the concept of a placebo. Those who argue that auricular acupuncture stimulates the vagus nerve, which innervates the ear concha state that needles placed anywhere in the concha should produce the same effects. 58 Studies utilizing sham procedures have failed to show a difference between the control and active experimental conditions.

In this unit, morphine is prescribed for the neonate by pediatricians (11 in total) if there is a constellation of symptoms unresponsive to environmental control including: 1) convulsions, 2) inconsolability or crying continuously for 3 hours, 3) persistent tremors or jitteriness when undisturbed, 4) continuous central nervous system irritability including hyperactive Moro reflex, tremors, jitteriness, increased muscle tone and unprovoked muscle jerks, 5) persistent vomiting or projectile vomiting over a 12 hour period; or 6) explosive diarrhea for 2-3 consecutive episodes. Additional clinical signs such as tachycardia, tachypnea, watery stools, fever, or weight loss > 10% may justify use of morphine after consideration of differential diagnoses. Morphine 1mg/ml is started at a rate of 0.03 mg/kg/dose every 3 hours. The dose is reviewed daily and titrated based on daily weights and ongoing symptoms.


Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

Women admitted to the chemical dependency unit at BC Women's Hospital, Vancouver, B.C.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Women who neither read nor write English
  • Having a pacemaker or any other electrical implants
  • Bleeding disorder or on anti-coagulants
  • Conditions putting someone at particular risk for infection including damaged heart valves or prior heart valve surgery, history of myocardiopathy, diabetes requiring insulin, history of knee or hip replacements, immunosuppressive drug therapy, open wounds.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00225316

Canada, British Columbia
BC Women's Hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6H 3N1
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of British Columbia
Principal Investigator: Dr. Patricia Janssen University of British Columbia
  More Information

Responsible Party: Dr. Patricia Janssen, University of British Columbia Identifier: NCT00225316     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: W05-0041
Study First Received: September 21, 2005
Last Updated: May 13, 2011

Keywords provided by University of British Columbia:
intervention study
substance use

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Behavior, Addictive
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Substance-Related Disorders
Compulsive Behavior
Impulsive Behavior
Infant, Newborn, Diseases
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on September 21, 2017