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Both manual (MA) and electro-acupuncture (EA) show beneficial effects when added to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in patients with moderate to severe depression, according to a Chinese trial. Four hundred and seventy-seven patients were randomised to either MA+SSRIs, EA+SSRIs, or SSRIs alone for six weeks, and then followed up for another four weeks. Acupuncture points used for MA were Baihui DU-20, Yintang M-HN-3, Fengfu DU-16, Fengchi GB-20, Dazhui DU-14, Neiguan P-6 and Sanyinjiao SP-6. In the EA group electrical stimulation was additionally applied at Baihui DU-20 and Yintang M-HN-3. After six weeks of treatment, both MA and EA were found to have enhanced the therapeutic effects of the SSRI treatment (measured as response and remission rates, and reduction in depression scores), accelerated response to treatment, reduced the adverse effects of SSRIs and decreased the proportion of patients who needed to increase their dosage of SSRIs, with small to moderate effects.

Manual or electroacupuncture as an add-on therapy to SSRIs for depression: A randomized controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Apr 9;114:24-33

 

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