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Summaries of recent papers
  1. Adrian White1,
  2. Mark Langweiler2
  1. 1Primary Care Group, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  2. 2Welsh Institute of Chiropractic, University of South Wales, Treforest, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adrian White, N14 ITTC Building, Plymouth Science Park, Plymouth PL6 8BX, UK; Adrian.white{at}

Statistics from

Clinical effectiveness

Opiate withdrawal

▸ Ma D, Han JS, Diao QH, et al. Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation for the treatment of withdrawal syndrome in heroin addicts. Pain Med 2015;16:839–48.

Sham controlled clinical trial (n=63), randomised.


A total of 63 male heroin addicts with withdrawal scores higher than 20 were recruited in the Detoxification Center of Zhongshan city, Guangdong province, China. The sample consisted of two populations—local residents and migrant workers. The two groups were randomised to transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) and sham TEAS, respectively. The TEAS group (n=31) received TEAS with Han’s acupoint nerve stimulator model 200A with two output channels, three sessions per day for 5 days, then two a day, 30 min per session, for 10 consecutive days. Electrical stimulation was at alternating frequencies of 2 and 100 Hz at 3 s each, and with intensity of 7–15 mA, double the sensory threshold. This was applied on LI4 and PC8 points on one hand, and PC6 and TE5 points on the other forearm via 4 cm×4 cm electro-conductive skin pads. The control group (n=32) was treated with a similar procedure except that the leads from the stimulator were disconnected.

Buprenorphine 1 mg per day sublingually was provided to all subjects in the first 2 days, and then to those with withdrawal score over 20 in the following days, and dose was recorded.

Assessments of the severity of the withdrawal syndrome were conducted 1 day before and on each day during the whole treatment period of 10 days. Subjective and objective scores, both on a scale of 0–3, were summed.


Withdrawal scores showed a significantly greater drop in the TEAS group than the controls starting from the second day, and were maintained at a lower level for the whole course of treatment (figure 1). The requirement for buprenorphine in the TEAS group was only 10% of that in the control group. No …

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