The sham treatment has been routinely used to alleviate the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Stellate ganglion block (SGB) treatment has shown a positive effect on PTSD symptoms, but how SGB compares with sham treatment is not clear. The study aims to investigate the effect of paired SGB treatments in reducing PTSD symptom severity.

This blinded, multisite, sham-procedure, randomized clinical trial included a total of 113 individuals (100 male and 13 female participants, mean age 37.3) with a PTSD Checklist–Civilian Version (PCL-C) score of 32 or more. The participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive SGB (n=71) or sham (n=39) for two weeks. The primary outcome of the study was the improvement in PTSD symptoms measured by the CAPS-5 scale.

The findings suggested that the baseline characteristics were identical between the two treatment groups. The intent-to-treat analysis resulted in a −12.6 points symptom severity score change in the SGB group, as compared with −6.1 points in the sham treatment group.

The research concluded that 2 SGB treatments at 0 and 2 weeks were more effective in PTSD symptoms measured by the CAPS-5 total symptom severity score, as compared with sham therapy.