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September 2022

Int J Neurosci. 1986 Mar; 29(1-2): 79-92.

Electroacupuncture: an alternative to antidepressants for treating affective diseases?

Han JS.

The monoamine hypothesis for affective disorders indicates a functional impairment of the monoamine systems in CNS as the causative factor for the development of depression. Pharmacological manipulations of the monoaminergic neuronal system using tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors produced promising therapeutic effects as well as certain unwanted side effects, which urged the search of a physiological means to activate the central monoamine systems. In the present paper, evidence from animal experiments is presented to show that acupuncture or electroacupuncture (EA) is capable of accelerating the synthesis and release of serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) in the CNS. Clinical data indicate that EA is effective in treating depressive patients, and at least as effective and with a higher therapeutic index than tricyclic amitriptyline.

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