Acupuncture fails to improve treatment outcome in alcoholics

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1992 Jun;30(2):169-73. doi: 10.1016/0376-8716(92)90022-5.


Fifty-six alcoholics (49 male, 7 female) of lower socioeconomic class attending an outpatient treatment program in Brooklyn, New York were prospectively randomized to one of three treatment group: point-specific acupuncture, sham transdermal stimulation or standard care (control). One third of the subjects reported a history of drug use in addition to alcohol. Results in this small sample showed no significant differences in attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, number of outpatients sessions attended, number of weeks in either the study or in the outpatient program, number of persons completing treatment or in the number of relapses. It is therefore concluded that in this small racially mixed sample of urban outpatient alcoholics, fixed point-specific standardized acupuncture did not improve outcome. We caution against the routine use of this treatment until more randomized controlled trials demonstrate a beneficial effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male