Study finds acupuncture shows promise for treating cocaine addiction

August 12, 2000

In the continuing search for an effective therapy for cocaine addiction, acupuncture, an ancient Chinese therapy, combined with modern Western treatments, may hold promise.

In the August 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers repoort that cocaine dependent patients who received a course of auricular acupuncture (acupuncture needles inserted into four specific points in the outer ear) were more likely to be free of cocaine during treatment than those not receiving acupuncture.

"This study shows that there may be merit in using acupuncture in combanation with other therapies as a treatment for cocaine addiction," said Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The research team led by Arthur Margolin, Ph.D., at Yale University School of Medicine, conducted a clincal trial enrolling 82 dually-addicted participants. These individuals were being treated with methadone for their heroin addiction and were referred to the study due to their unremitting cocaine use. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: auricular acupuncture; "control" acupuncture (needles inserted into four ear points not thought to have a treatment effect); or a relaxation group (in which patients viewed commercially available video tapes, depicting relaxing imagery such as nature scenes). The treatment sessions were provided five times a week for eight weeks. Urine samples were taken three times a week to assess cocaine use.

Findings showed that participants who received auricular acupuncture were more likely to provide cocaine-negative urine screens over the course of the study compared to participants in either control group. Among the participants who completed the study, more than half of the acupuncture patients (53.8 percent) tested free of cocaine during the last week of treatment, compared to 23.5 percent of the control acupuncture group, and 9.1 percent of the relaxation group. Treatment completers receiving acupuncture also had longer periods of sustained abstinence compared to participants in the two control groups.

Of the 82 participants who started the study, 63 percent completed the eight-week trial. Thirteen of 28 (46 percent) completed auricular acupuncture; 17 of 27 (63 percent) completed the needle insertion control; and 22 or 27 (81 percent)completed the relaxation control. Those who received auricular acupuncture completed significantly fewer (5.2) treatment weeks compared to 6.7 weeks for control acupuncture and 7 weeks for the relaxation therapy control groups.

Dr.Margolin says, "This study provides support for the use of acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine addiction. Further research is needed to replicate these findings and to determine how acupuncture and other treatments can be most effectively combined."
-end-
Note to reporters: The full text of the paper, "A Randomized Controlled Trial of Auricular Acupuncture for Cocaine Dependence, (Arch Intern Med. 20-00; 160: 2305-2312) is available at http://www.jama.com or by calling the AMA's Science News Department at 312-464-5374.




NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse

Related Cocaine Articles from Brightsurf:

Sleep-deprived mice find cocaine more rewarding
Sleep deprivation may pave the way to cocaine addiction. Too-little sleep can increase the rewarding properties of cocaine, according to new research in mice published in eNeuro.

Nucleus accumbens recruited by cocaine, sugar are different
In a study using genetically modified mice, a University of Wyoming faculty member found that the nucleus accumbens recruited by cocaine use are largely distinct from nucleus accumbens recruited by sucrose, or table sugar.

Astrocytes build synapses after cocaine use in mice
Drugs of abuse, like cocaine, are so addictive due in part to their cellular interaction, creating strong cellular memories in the brain that promote compulsive behaviors.

Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine
Construction workers are more likely to use drugs than workers in other professions, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health.

Chronic cocaine use modifies gene expression
Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Blocking dopamine weakens effects of cocaine
Blocking dopamine receptors in different regions of the amygdala reduces drug seeking and taking behavior with varying longevity, according to research in rats published in eNeuro.

Born to run: just not on cocaine
A study finds a surprising response to cocaine in a novel strain of mutant mice -- they failed to show hyperactivity seen in normal mice when given cocaine and didn't run around.

Cocaine adulterant may cause brain damage
People who regularly take cocaine cut with the animal anti-worming agent levamisole demonstrate impaired cognitive performance and a thinned prefrontal cortex.

Setting affects pleasure of heroin and cocaine
Drug users show substance-specific differences in the rewarding effects of heroin versus cocaine depending on where they use the drugs, according to a study published in JNeurosci.

One in 10 people have traces of cocaine or heroin on their fingerprints
Scientists have found that drugs are now so prevalent that 13 percent of those taking part in a test were found to have traces of class A drugs on their fingerprints -- despite never using them.

Read More: Cocaine News and Cocaine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.