Auricular Acupuncture for Suicidal Ideation in Methadone Patients

AUTHORS

Saeed Nateghi 1 , * , Hosein Effatpanah 2

1 School of Medicine, Ziaeian Hospital, International Campus, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Public Health, Asadabad School of Medical Sciences, Asadabad, Iran

How to Cite: Nateghi S, Effatpanah H. Auricular Acupuncture for Suicidal Ideation in Methadone Patients, Iran J Psychiatry Behav Sci. Online ahead of Print ; 13(4):e98121. doi: 10.5812/ijpbs.98121.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences: 13 (4); e98121
Published Online: December 25, 2019
Article Type: Letter
Received: September 16, 2019
Revised: November 11, 2019
Accepted: November 30, 2019
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Keywords

Drug Methadone Treatment

Copyright © 2019, Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.

Dear Editor,

Illicit drug use remains a health concern in Iran which is accompanied with a number of serious problems such as suicide and mortality (1-3). In addition to methadone, a number of psychological interventions have been introduced to treat this problem which are not necessarily effective for every patient (4-9).

In a recent published article in your journal, “evaluation of the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture in suicidal ideation and cortisol level in dysthymic patients with comorbid opiate use disorder enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment: a randomized double-blind, sham controlled trial”, authors have suggested a new intervention to treat suicidal ideation in methadone therapy in Iran (10). Overall, 24 methadone patients with the diagnosis of depression received either auricular acupuncture (AA) or sham acupuncture during four weeks. Interestingly, participants in the treatment group showed significantly better results than the control group in term of reduced suicidal ideation (10).

In this letter to editor, we appreciate the study as a valuable and influential research because it suggests a new intervention to treat suicidal ideation in Iran. The message of the study is important for Iranian health policy makers and clinicians; suicidal ideation is one of the leading causes of death in methadone therapy and with using new effective interventions such as AA, we can reduce the mortality rate in this group. Therefore, reduced depression and as a result, reduced suicidal ideation are very likely to contribute to improving methadone treatment outcomes. Although more large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to investigate the effectiveness of AA as a reliable treatment, the study is still important and deserves replication. Moreover, the authors cannot limit themselves to AA. Other treatments such as pharmacological treatments combined with AA should be considered in future for suicidal ideation in methadone patients. Furthermore, the literature related to AA is emerging in Iran and further studies are need. Such studies need to have a focus on large trial and should not limit themselves to quasi-experimental studies with limited sample sizes.

Footnotes

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