Background: To determine the relative efficacy of acupuncture and zolpidem in the treatment of primary insomnia, we administered a sleep quality scale to thirty-three patients with primary insomnia randomly chosen to receive one of the two therapies at a psychosomatic clinic.
Methods: A study in the psychosomatic clinic at a teaching hospital in southern Taiwan from November 2007 to November 2008. The 19 patients in acupuncture group underwent one acupuncture session a week. The 14 patients in the control group took zolpidem 1# (10mg) every night. Members of both groups returned to our clinic once a week for four weeks. The main outcome measure was the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).
Results: Both groups were found to have improved significantly. Using generalized estimating equation analysis to test the variance with group and time as factors, we found both groups improved over time at a similar rate (p=0.79). In regression analysis, setting the fourth total PSQI score to zero, the baseline PSQI score was 4.13 (p<0.001), the second score 1.32 (p=0.005), and the third 1.49 (p=0.03); men had a higher PSQI score 1.56 than women (p=0.02); the increasing age of one year would have lower PSQI score 0.08 (p<0.001) and increasing educational level of one year which would decrease PSQI score 0.25 (p=0.007).
Conclusions: Acupuncture might be used as an alternative strategy compared to zolpidem for the treatment of primary insomnia.