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West J Med. 1976 September; 125(3): 191–194.
PMCID: PMC1237263

Outpatient Heroin Detoxification with Acupuncture and Staplepuncture


Eighteen heroin addicts were treated as outpatients with acupuncture, electrical stimulation and staplepuncture. Results of treatment were compared with results in two similar groups of 18 persons in whom detoxification was carried out using methadone and propoxyphene napsylate. Withdrawal symptoms were relieved for about two hours in most of the patients after a treatment episode of acupuncture and electrical stimulation. Staplepuncture, which is the manipulation by hand of a surgical staple implanted in the concha of the ear, was reported to relieve withdrawal symptoms at least partially in approximately 40 percent of subjects. In only one person of the group treated with acupuncture or staplepuncture was complete detoxification achieved, compared with 13 and 10 persons, respectively, in the methadone and propoxyphene napsylate groups (p<.001). Use of acupuncture and staplepuncture in outpatient clinics may be limited unless techniques can be found that will relieve withdrawal symptoms for a longer period than that observed in this study.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Sainsbury MJ. Acupuncture in heroin withdrawal. Med J Aust. 1974 Jul 20;2(3):102–105. [PubMed]
  • Low SA. Letter: Acupuncture and heroin withdrawal. Med J Aust. 1974 Aug 31;2(9):341–341. [PubMed]
  • Lee PK, Anderson TW, Modell JH, Saga SA. Treatment of chronic pain with acupuncture. JAMA. 1975 Jun 16;232(11):1133–1135. [PubMed]
  • Benson H, Epstein MD. The placebo effect. A neglected asset in the care of patients. JAMA. 1975 Jun 23;232(12):1225–1227. [PubMed]

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