Skip to main content

Table 5 Original investigations of acupuncture therapy effects in alcohol-dependent subjects

From: Acupuncture therapy for drug addiction

Publication year; first author Objectives Subjects Stimulated acupoints (acupuncture type, acupoints, frequency) Assessments Outcomes
2001 Yoshimoto [86] To investigate the effect of EA on changes in alcohol-drinking behavior in rats challenged with restriction and immobilization stress 8–12 Male Sprague–Dawley rats 1 Hz and 100 Hz EA at Zusanli (ST 36) and Shenshu (BL 23) for 10 min, twice a week for 1–3 weeks Time-access alcohol-drinking behavior, brain dopamine (DA) level Acupuncture at Zusanli (ST 36) was more effective for reducing the increased alcohol-drinking behavior
2002 Bullock [16] To report the clinical data on the efficacy of acupuncture for alcohol dependence 503 Alcoholics AA at Shenmen (HT7), lung, sympathetic, and liver for 40 min, 6 days a week for 3 weeks Alcohol use, depression, anxiety, functional status, and preference for therapy acupuncture was not found to be effective in reduction of alcohol use alone
2002 Karst [39] To investigate the acupuncture effects on alcohol withdrawal therapy with carbamazepine 34 Alcoholics AA at Sympathetic, Shenmen (HT7), kidney, liver, lung, Baihui (GV20), extra1, and He Gu (Li4), daily for 10 days Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment (CIWA-Ar-scale) Acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment to carbamazepine medication shows promise for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms
2003 Trumpler [74] To compare auricular laser and needle acupuncture with sham laser stimulation in reducing the duration of alcohol withdrawal 48 alcoholics undergoing alcohol withdrawal with clomethiazole n = 17 laser, n = 15 needle AA (2-10 out of 24 points) for 30-45 min, laser AA at 24 pints (1 min for each point), 3-4 days The duration of withdrawal symptoms (nurse-rated scale), duration of sedative prescription Acupuncture showed no relevant benefit for alcohol withdrawal
2004 Zalewska-Kaszubska [87] To intensify AA method by additional biostimulation of the whole organism 53 Alcoholics under daily helium–neon laser for neck biostimulation Laser AA at concha points for 4 periods of ten times applied every 2nd day The Beck Depression Inventory-Fast Screen (BDI-FS), beta-endorphin plasma concentration by using the radioimmunoassay (RIA) laser therapy was useful as an adjunct treatment for alcoholism
2005 Kim [40] To investigate the effects of acupuncture on alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) and Fos-like immunoreactivity (FLI) in the striatum and the nucleus accumbens (NAC) of rats 24 Male Sprague–Dawley rats Acupuncture at Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) for 3 days Alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) and Fos-like immunoreactivity (FLI) in the striatum and the nucleus accumbens (NAC) acupuncture was useful in the treatment of alcoholism by modulating post-synaptic neural activation in the striatum and NAC
2006 Yoshimoto [85] To investigate the neuropharmacological mechanisms of oriental acupuncture 24 Male Sprague–Dawley rats, n = 16 acupuncture unilateral or bilateral acupuncture at Shenshu (BU23) acupoint, 60 min Dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) contents of the microdialysates in the ACC Acupuncture was effective for treatment of emotional disorders and laconism by increasing and prolonging the activity of serotonergic neurons
2006 Zhao [89] To investigate the effects of acupuncture on chronic ethanol-induced changes in extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens shell 35 Male Sprague–Dawley rats, n = 21 sham or real acupuncture Bilateral acupuncture at Shenmen (HT7) point or Neiguan (PC6) or tail) for 1 min Extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens shell (using in vivo microdialysis in unanesthetized rats) Acupuncture at HT7 was effective to normalize the release of dopamine in the mesolimbic system following chronic ethanol treatment
2007 Kunz [43] To compare auricular needle acupuncture with aromatherapy in reducing the duration and severity of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal with carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, and benzodiazepines 74 alcoholics, n = 36 acupuncture, n = 38 aromatherapy AA at 5 NADA points, 45 min for 5 days Alcohol-withdrawal syndrome (AWS scale), subjective visual analog scale of craving and the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) acupuncture was not more effective than the control therapy on alcohol withdrawal symptoms
2008 Overstreet [64] To investigate the EA effects for reducing voluntary alcohol intake in alcohol-preferring rats 18 inbred alcohol-preferring P rats (IP), n = 9 EA 2 and 100 Hz EA at Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) for 30 min Alcohol intake Acupuncture affected on alcohol intake in the alcohol-dependent IP rats
2009 Dos Santos [28] To investigate the effects of EA over locomotor sensitization induced by ethanol in mice 12 Male Swiss mice 2 Hz EA at Zusanli (ST36) and/or Neiguan (PC6) for 10 min The locomotor activity, the expression of homer1A mRNA assessed by PCR EA modulated homer1A expression and glutamatergic plasticity
2010 Yang [82] To evaluate the effects of HT7 acupuncture on VTA GABA neuron excitability, ethanol inhibition of VTA GABA neuron firing rate, and ethanol self-administration 32 Male Wistar rats 2 Hz EA at Shenmen (HT7) or Neiguan (PC6) for 1 min Ethanol-Reinforced Responding, VTA GABA Neuron Activity, VTA GABA Neuron Firing Rate acupuncture reduced ethanol suppression of VTA GABA neuron firing rate, and reduced ethanol self-administration without affecting sucrose consumption
2011 Li [50] To demonstrate that SD rats escalated their ethanol intake and subsequently developed ethanol dependence under the IE procedure 26 Male Sprague–Dawley rats 2 and 100 HZ EA at Zusanli (ST36) for 20 min Intake of and preference for ethanol EA treatments decreased the intake of and preference for ethanol, without resulting in a rebound increase in ethanol intake when the EA treatments were terminated
2012 Li [49] To test the hypothesis that EA suppression on alcohol consumption may be mediated by transcription factors, such as FosB/ΔFosB protein in reward-related brain regions 33 Male Sprague–Dawley rats 2 and 100 HZ EA at Zusanli (ST36), 30 min for 6 days The expression of FosB/ΔFosB in several reward-related brain regions using immunohistochemistry EA treatment effectively reduced ethanol consumption and preference in rats by down-regulation of FosB/ΔFosB in reward-related brain regions
2012 Escosteguy-Neto [29] To investigate EA effects during ethanol withdrawal on CB1R immunoreactivity 12 Male Swiss mice 2 and 100 Hz EA at Zusanli (ST36)/Neiguan (PC6) or Dazhui (DU14)/Baihui (DU20), 10 min for 4 days CB1R in the prefrontal cortex, striatum, hippocampus, amygdala and ventral tegmental area EA inhibited CB1R upregulation which depended on acupoints association and frequency of stimulation
2012 Fallopa [30] To investigate whether EA reverses locomotor sensitization induced by ethanol is parallel to ERK signaling 12 Male Swiss mice 2 and 100 Hz EA at Zusanli (ST36)/Neiguan (PC6) or Dazhui (DU14)/Baihui (DU20), 10 min for 4 days pERK immune-histochemistry EA increased CB1R in the prefrontal cortex, striatum, hippocampus, amygdala and ventral tegmental area
  1. Acupoints in NADA protocol are located at (sympathetic: in the deltoid fossa at the junction of the infra-antihelix crus and the medial order of the helix, lung: in the center of the cavum concha, liver: located in the posterior to upper portion of the helix crus, kidney: in the cleft between the upper plateau, and the helix)