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Acupuncture in the Treatment of Depression

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Identifier:
First received: February 2, 2001
Last updated: March 5, 2008
Last verified: March 2008
The current large randomized placebo-controlled trial is testing the ability of acupuncture to treat major depression. The study is unique in that treatment effects will be from the perspective of both Western psychiatry and Chinese medicine.

Condition Intervention Phase
Depressive Disorders Depression Procedure: Acupuncture Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Acupuncture in the Treatment of Depression

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):

Study Start Date: September 1997
Estimated Study Completion Date: April 2002
Detailed Description:
Depression is an unfortunately common condition for which people often seek alternative (non-Western) treatments, perhaps because conventional treatments do not consistently provide lasting relief. A pilot study (Allen, Schnyer and Hitt, 1998) suggests that acupuncture, a popular but under-researched alternative treatment derived from Chinese medicine, holds sufficient promise as a treatment for depression to warrant a larger-scale clinical trial. The investigators propose to conduct a larger-scale test of the efficacy of acupuncture in this trial. Because relapse and recurrence of Major Depression are quite common, the investigators also will assess the clinical status of participants for 18 months after treatment concludes. In the first phase of this double-blind randomized clinical trial, 150 men and women meeting criteria for Major Depression will be randomly assigned to a treatment approach or to a waitlist control. All participants will ultimately receive acupuncture designed to address their own particular constellation of depressive symptoms. At the end of this first phase, blind assessments will be used to compare treatment effects from the perspectives of both Western psychiatry and Chinese medicine. After this treatment phase, participants will be assessed several times over the next 18 months. The study is designed to evaluate the efficacy and clinical significance of acupuncture as a treatment for Major Depression, and to examine the convergence of Western-based and Chinese-medicine-based outcome measures. Finally, the study will determine whether changes in energetic pattern mediate changes in Western defined depression severity, and explore whether patient and history variables predict responses to acupuncture treatments.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Must meet criteria for Major Depression.
  • Must be free of other mental or physical disorders that could cause depression, and also free from conditions that would typically exclude participants from trials involving pharmacologic antidepressants.
  • Cannot be receiving other treatments or require immediate clinical attention.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00010517

United States, Arizona
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona, United States, 85721-0068
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: John J. Allen, PhD University of Arizona, Department of Psychology
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number): Identifier: NCT00010517     History of Changes
Obsolete Identifiers: NCT00004534
Other Study ID Numbers: R01 AT000001-01M
R01AT000001-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: February 2, 2001
Last Updated: March 5, 2008

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on September 21, 2017