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Title: Electroacupuncture for tapering off long-term benzodiazepine use : study protocol of randomized controlled trial
Authors: Yeung, WF 
Chung, KF
Zhang, ZJ
Chan, WC
Zhang, SP
Chan, CLW
Ho, LM
Yu, YM 
Lao, LX
Keywords: Benzodiazepine discontinuation
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: BioMed Central
Source: BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 2017, v. 17, 183, p. 1-9 How to cite?
Journal: BMC complementary and alternative medicine 
Abstract: Background: Conventional approaches for benzodiazepine tapering have their limitations. Anecdotal studies have shown that acupuncture is a potential treatment for facilitating successful benzodiazepine tapering. As of today, there was no randomized controlled trial examining its efficacy and safety. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of using electroacupuncture as an adjunct treatment to gradual tapering of benzodiazepine doses in complete benzodiazepine cessation in long-term benzodiazepine users. Methods/Design: The study protocol of a randomized, assessor- and subject-blinded, controlled trial is presented. One hundred and forty-four patients with histories of using benzodiazepines in >= 50% of days for more than 3 months will be randomly assigned in a 1: 1 ratio to receive either electroacupuncture or placebo electroacupuncture combined with gradual benzodiazepine tapering schedule. Both experimental and placebo treatments will be delivered twice per week for 4 weeks. Major assessments will be conducted at baseline, week 6 and week 16 post-randomization. Primary outcome is the cessation rate of benzodiazepine use. Secondary outcomes include the percentage change in the doses of benzodiazepine usage and the severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced based on the Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptom Questionnaire, insomnia as measured by the Insomnia Severity Index, and anxiety and depressive symptoms as evaluated by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Adverse events will also be measured at each study visit. Discussion: Results of this study will provide high quality evidence of the efficacy and safety of electroacupuncture as an adjunct treatment for benzodiazepine tapering in long-term users.
ISSN: 1472-6882
EISSN: 1472-6882
DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1692-5
Rights: © The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
The following publication Yeung, W. F., Chung, K. F., Zhang, Z. J., Chan, W. C., Zhang, S. P., Ng, R. M. K., … Lao, L. X. (2017). Electroacupuncture for tapering off long-term benzodiazepine use : study protocol of randomized controlled trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17, 183, 1-9 is available at
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