In two trials, when acupuncture was compared to sham control, it did not do much.
In the other five trials, acupuncture did not significantly improve symptoms in patients with mild to moderate depression. The most surprising data revealed that there was no evidence that the anti depressant medications were better than acupuncture. Of course, the usual arguments were that these studies were poorly designed and numbers were small.
So what does all this mean for the consumer? On cyberspace, it appears that there are hundreds of practitioners offering acupuncture as a treatment for depression. On the other hand, psychiatrists also claim that their medications are working fine. There seems to be no shortage of patients for either health care professional.
Depression is a complex topic and no one really knows what is the best treatment. Questions still remain about efficacy of acupuncture, but if you are thinking about it, one should know that the cost of each treatment is anywhere from $50-$100 per session. In addition, most medical insurance plans do not cover the cost. On the other hand, anti depressant drugs are also expensive and often not covered by insurance plans.
If you are on an anti depressant medication, hang on to your pill. While there are a lot of negative sentiments about doctors and drugs, there is still a fair amount of decent information that reveals that anti depressant drugs do work in a number of patients. Even though these drugs have side effects and often fail to work in the long term, there is no other therapy at the moment which works better. Remember, acupuncture is still looking for a disease it can cure and solid evidence about its efficacy is still lacking.