Background: The use of acupuncture to treat depression is not uncommon. However, recommendations regarding acupuncture issued by clinical practice guidelines (CPG) vary widely. Objective: To describe the recommendations regarding acupuncture in CPGs for depression in adults, and to assess the methodology used to reach them. Methods: We conducted a scoping review of CPGs for depression management in adults, which performed systematic reviews (SRs) to answer their review questions, were published between January 2014 and May 2018, and assessed the use of acupuncture as a review question. We limited out search to articles published in English/Spanish. We assessed the SRs quality using the “A MeaSurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews-2” (AMSTAR-2), and described how the recommendation regarding acupuncture was reached. Findings: We found five CPGs that fulfilled our inclusion criteria: three from the US, one from Canada, and one from China. Four CPGs fulfilled between two and three items of AMSTAR-2, and one CPG fulfilled seven items. The methodology used to formulate the recommendations varied between CPGs. Regarding acupuncture use recommendations: three CPGs did not issue any recommendation (although one mentions that it should not be used), whilst two were in favor. Discussions: The lack of a clearly stated review question presented in the majority of CPGs prevents the reader from understanding what the CPG developing group was trying to answer. Moreover, the arguments presented to support a decision are usually not detailed enough. Therefore, the assessment of the recommendations was extremely difficult. Clinical implications: Given that the formulation of recommendations is not always reliable, clinicians should carefully read and assess the recommendations presented in CPGs before implementing them.
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