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October 2021

Arch Intern Med. 1998 Nov; 158(20): 2251-5.

Randomized trial of acupuncture for nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

White AR, Resch KL, Ernst E.

Department of Complementary Medicine, Postgraduate Medical School, University of Exeter, England. [email protected]

BACKGROUND: Acupuncture is frequently used for smoking cessation. Positive results from uncontrolled studies have not been supported by meta-analysis of controlled trials. One possible reason for this is that the optimal acupuncture technique was not applied or that the technique was not repeated sufficiently often. METHODS: A randomized, sham-controlled trial was performed with 2 parallel treatment arms; the participant and the evaluator were unaware of which treatment was received. Seventy-six adults who wanted to stop smoking received either 100-Hz electroacupuncture with needles inserted into the appropriate point in each ear or a sham control procedure over the mastoid bone. Interventions were given on days 1, 3, and 7 of smoking cessation. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms were measured by visual analog scale scores recorded in a daily diary for 14 days; smoking cessation was confirmed objectively. RESULTS: There was no significant difference between the mean reduction of withdrawal symptom scores of the 2 groups from day 1 to day 14. Fifteen participants (39%) who received electroacupuncture and 16 participants (42%) who received a sham procedure were abstinent on day 14. CONCLUSION: This form of electroacupuncture is no more effective than placebo in reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

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