A randomized controlled trial of auricular acupuncture for cocaine dependence

Arch Intern Med. 2000 Aug 14-28;160(15):2305-12. doi: 10.1001/archinte.160.15.2305.

Abstract

Background: Partly because of a lack of a conventional, effective treatment for cocaine addiction, auricular acupuncture is used to treat this disorder in numerous drug treatment facilities across the country for both primary cocaine-dependent and opiate-dependent populations.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine addiction.

Methods: Eighty-two cocaine-dependent, methadone-maintained patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: auricular acupuncture, a needle-insertion control condition, or a no-needle relaxation control. Treatment sessions were provided 5 times weekly for 8 weeks. The primary outcome was cocaine use assessed by 3-times-weekly urine toxicology screens.

Results: Longitudinal analysis of the urine data for the intent-to-treat sample showed that patients assigned to acupuncture were significantly more likely to provide cocaine-negative urine samples relative to both the relaxation control (odds ratio, 3.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-8.72; P =. 01) and the needle-insertion control (odds ratio, 2.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-5.75; P =.05).

Conclusions: Findings from the current study suggest that acupuncture shows promise for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Further investigation of this treatment modality appears to be warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Ear, External
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Substance Abuse Detection

Substances

  • Methadone