A pilot study of acupuncture plus moxibustion in treating major depressive disorder

WANG Xuefeng

Abstract: [Objectives] To observe the response rate and the remission rate of acupuncture plus moxibustion in treating major depressive disorder(MDD), and to compare them with the SSRI antidepressant citalopram in STAR*D. [Method] This is a real world study. The study was carried out in a private practice located in a small city of Switzerland from Nov 2016 to Mar 2018. Any patient who met the criteria of inclusion was observed.   Altogether 13 patients, 11 women and 2 men, are included according to the diagnosis of MDD. The age is between 23 and 69, 46.31±SD14.53. They may have anxiety and different general medical conditions. Acupuncture was used on the points SI19,HT5,HT4,ST25,KI4,ST41,GB35,KI9, and moxibustion was used on the points BL15,BL19,BL20. Every patient had maximal 10 sessions of treatments. The PHQ9 was recorded before and after treatments. GAD7 was recorded to measure the severity of anxiety before and after treatments when patients report anxious symptoms. The response rate and the remission rate were compared with antidepressants citalopram in the first level of STAR*D research. [Results] Before the treatment, all patients’ scores of PHQ9 are between 10 and 25. After treatment, the scores of ten patients are below 5, one is 50% above the initial score, and two patients dropped out. So both the response rate and remission rate are 76.9%. Comparing with the response rate and remission rate of Citalopram in the first level of STAR*D, 47% and 33% individually, this pilot study shows that acupuncture and moxibustion treatment could approach much higher response rate and remission rate in treating MDD and further researches is strongly advised to confirm this result.

Key words: Major depressive disorder; anxiety; Citalopram; Acupuncture; Moxibustion; STAR*D

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