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Efficacy and Safety of Auricular Therapy for Depression


Background: Researchers have found applications for auricular therapy (AT) for treating depression. There is, however, a lack of comprehensive evaluation of AT’s effects and safety.

Objective: The objective of this review was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of AT for treating depression. Methods: Ten databases were used to search for randomized controlled and quasi-randomized controlled trials relating to AT and depression. Related available articles up to January 2016 were used for the research. Rev Man 5.2 software was used for data analysis with the effect estimate presented as relative risk and mean difference with a 95% confidence interval.

Results: Interventions of trials included in this study were either ear buried seeds (EBS) or transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS). Compared to sham, tVNS produced significant differences on the Hamilton Depression (HAM-D) rating scale, Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI), Self-Rate Depression Scale (SDS), and Self-Rate Anxiety Scale (SAS), but no significant difference were seen on the Hamilton Anxiety (HAM-A) scale. Compared to other treatment, tVNS produced significant differences on the HAM-D, Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI-S) and Clinical Global Impression—Improvement (CGI-I). tVNS also had an advantage with respect to reducing side-effects. When EBS combined with other treatments was compared to other treatments, there were also significant differences on the HAM-D, SDS, SAS, remission, and Patient Assessment of Constipation Quality of Life (PAC-QOL) questionnaire, but there was no significant difference seen on the Nerve Function Defect Score Scale Barthel Index (BI).

Conclusions: tVNS and EBS forms of AT could alleviate depression symptoms measured by the HAM-D. It is suggested that the designs of AT trials should follow the recommendations of the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) guidelines. AT clinicians should use the HAM-D to gauge depression, and somatic symptom reduction should be observed separately.

Author: Zhi-Xing Zhang, MD,1,* Chun-Ri Li, PhD,1,* Pei-Jing Rong, PhD, 2 Zeng-Hua Bai, MD, 1 Ashley Marie Hill, MD, 1 Qin Jing, MD, 1 Lu Ren1, and Chun-Yan Wang, PhD3

Quelle: MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE Volume 28, Number 5, 2016

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