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Avants SK, Margolin A, Holford TR, Kosten TR. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Auricular Acupuncture for Cocaine Dependence. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(15):2305–2312. doi:10.1001/archinte.160.15.2305
Partly because of a lack of a conventional, effective treatment for cocaine addiction, auricular acupuncture is used to treat this disorder in numerous drug treatment facilities across the country for both primary cocaine-dependent and opiate-dependent populations.
To evaluate the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine addiction.
Eighty-two cocaine-dependent, methadone-maintained patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: auricular acupuncture, a needle-insertion control condition, or a no-needle relaxation control. Treatment sessions were provided 5 times weekly for 8 weeks. The primary outcome was cocaine use assessed by 3-times-weekly urine toxicology screens.
Longitudinal analysis of the urine data for the intent-to-treat sample showed that patients assigned to acupuncture were significantly more likely to provide cocaine-negative urine samples relative to both the relaxation control (odds ratio, 3.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.33-8.72; P = .01) and the needle-insertion control (odds ratio, 2.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-5.75; P = .05).
Findings from the current study suggest that acupuncture shows promise for the treatment of cocaine dependence. Further investigation of this treatment modality appears to be warranted.
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