Acupuncture in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms: a randomized, placebo-controlled inpatient study.
Addict Biol. 2002 Oct;7(4):415-9. PMID: 14578018
Thirty-four alcoholics were treated with acupuncture to the ear and the body in a randomized single-blind placebo-controlled design over 14 days. Orthodox points and placebo needles to orthodox points were used daily for a total of 10 treatments starting on the first day of admission as add-on therapy to standard medication with carbamazepine. The primary outcome was the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment (CIWA-Ar-scale) assessed on days 1-6, 9 and 14. No initial differences were found regarding sociodemographic data, drinking history and alcohol-related data, indicating successful randomization. Longitudinal analysis of the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment (CIWA-Ar-scale) data showed that patients assigned to acupuncture had a general tendency towards better outcome results and significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms on day 14 (Wilcoxon-W=177.500, Z=-2.009, p = 0.045). No significant differences were found in the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI X1 and X2) and Eigenschaftswoerterliste (EWL S60). We conclude that acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment to carbamazepine medication shows promise for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Further investigation of this treatment modality appears to be warranted.