• End date
    Dec 15, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Updated on 15 June 2021
opioid use
psychiatric symptoms
drug dependence


In 2019, around 27 million people worldwide, corresponding to 0.5% of the adult population, have used amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). More than one-third of these 27 million users of ATS were in East and South-East Asia. ATS are a group of synthetic psychostimulants including methamphetamine, amphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) and related substances. Although the biology underlying amphetamine withdrawal syndrome is not fully understood, amphetamine has been shown to produce long-lasting reductions in neuronal expression of dopamine neuronal markers. Abuse of these synthetic psychostimulants can lead to drug addiction, and subsequent withdrawal can cause a series of mental symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, cognitive impairments, and delusions. Some studies have shown two clear stages of ATS withdrawal syndrome: an acute phase lasting 7-10 days, and a subacute phase lasting a further 2 weeks or more, which is termed called "Protracted amphetamine abstinence syndrome (PAAS)".

The relevant literature has indicated that the majority of patients with ATS withdrawal disorders can experience depression, cognitive impairments, insomnia, and anxiety, especially during the PAAS stage. These symptoms may affect the treatment and finally lead to a relapse. Nowadays, pharmacological therapies are mostly symptom-targeted and show an ungratified effectiveness for amphetamine-type drugs. There is no a medication approved by Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction. Therefore, the treatment of PAAS is essential for the treatment of ATS use disorders.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), especially acupuncture, is effective in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms with few side effects. research on acupuncture detoxification originates from the treatment of opioid drug withdrawal. Studies have shown that acupuncture has high efficacy in the treatment of protracted abstinence symptoms after heroin addiction. This study hypothesizes that acupuncture has the same mechanism of action in the treatment of PAAS as in the treatment of protracted opioid abstinence syndrome. Therefore, investigators have designed a real-world-based pragmatic randomized controlled trial (pRCT) to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of PAAS and provide support for clinical decision-making.

Investigators conduct a pragmatic randomized controlled trials(pRCT) to observe the effect of acupuncture in a larger sample. It combines the advantages of randomization and real-world data, and the results can provide the best real-world evidence for the assessment of intervention effects or comparative effects.

Condition Drug use, Drug abuse, Substance Abuse, withdrawal syndrome, drug withdrawal, Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
Treatment Electro-acupuncture
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04917185
SponsorChengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Last Modified on15 June 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients meet the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) (21)
A urine test for methamphetamine is negative
-60 years old, male or female, conscious, no aphasia, or mental retardation, primary school education or above, and able to understand the contents of the scales and cooperate with treatment
Did not participate in other clinical trials within 3 months
Signed the informed consent from

Exclusion Criteria

Local trauma or infected persons who have received EA
Can' not tolerate EA, EA treatment, or allergic to EA needles
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Serious disorders of the heart, liver, or kidney, or suicidal tendencies
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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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