Acupuncture for Alcohol Dependence: A Systematic Review
Article first published online: 30 APR 2009
Copyright © 2009 by the Research Society on Alcoholism
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 33, Issue 8, pages 1305–1313, August 2009
How to Cite
Cho, S.-H. and Whang, W.-W. (2009), Acupuncture for Alcohol Dependence: A Systematic Review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 33: 1305–1313. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.00959.x
- Issue published online: 27 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 30 APR 2009
- Received for publication January 15, 2009; accepted March 11, 2009.
- Alcohol Dependence;
- Systematic Review;
- Randomized Controlled Trials
Background: Acupuncture has been used in the treatment of substance-related disorders for the past 30 years. However, a systematic review to assess the effect of various types of acupuncture for alcohol dependence has not yet been performed. The present systematic review assessed the results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Methods: Nineteen electronic databases, including English, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese databases, were systematically searched for RCTs of acupuncture for alcohol dependence up to June 2008 with no language restrictions. The methodological qualities of eligible studies were assessed using the criteria described in the Cochrane Handbook.
Results: Eleven studies, which comprised a total of 1,110 individual cases, were systematically reviewed. Only 2 of 11 trials reported satisfactorily all quality criteria. Four trials comparing acupuncture treatment and sham treatments reported data for alcohol craving. Three studies reported that there were no significant differences. Among 4 trials comparing acupuncture and no acupuncture with conventional therapies, 3 reported significant reductions. No differences between acupuncture and sham treatments were found for completion rates (Risk Ratio = 1.07, 95% confidence interval, CI = 0.91 to 1.25) or acupuncture and no acupuncture (Risk Ratio = 1.15, 95% CI = 0.79 to 1.67). Only 3 RCTs reported acupuncture-related adverse events, which were mostly minimal.
Conclusions: The results of the included studies were equivocal, and the poor methodological quality and the limited number of the trials do not allow any conclusion about the efficacy of acupuncture for treatment of alcohol dependence. More research and well-designed, rigorous, and large clinical trials are necessary to address these issues.