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Auricular acupuncture as an adjunct to opiate detoxification treatment: effects on withdrawal symptoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Published copy (DOI)

Author(s)

  • Jennifer Bearn
  • Anshul Swami
  • Duncan Stewart
  • Catherine Atnas
  • Lisa Giotto
  • Michael Gossop

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalJournal of substance abuse treatment
DatePublished - Apr 2009
Issue number3
Volume36
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)345-9
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

It was hypothesized that auricular acupuncture would lead to reduced severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms and craving when provided as an adjunct to methadone detoxification. The study used a randomized, placebo-controlled study design. The sample consisted of 83 drug misusers who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for opiate dependence. Daily measures of withdrawal severity and craving were taken using the Short Opiate Withdrawal Scale and an eight-item craving questionnaire. Urine screening was used as an objective assessment of treatment adherence. The study hypothesis was not confirmed. Auricular acupuncture had no effect upon withdrawal severity or craving when provided as an adjunct to a standard methadone detoxification treatment. The results are consistent with the findings of other studies that failed to find any effect of acupuncture in the treatment of drug dependence. The failure to find any clinical gains from the adjunctive use of auricular acupuncture during detoxification from opiates raises concerns about the widespread acceptance of this intervention.

    Research areas

  • Acupuncture, Ear, Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Methadone, Narcotics, Opioid-Related Disorders, Patient Compliance, Substance Withdrawal Syndrome, Surveys and Questionnaires, Treatment Outcome

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