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BMJ Open. 2013 Sep 10;3(9):e003138. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003138.

Randomised controlled trial comparing hypnotherapy versus gabapentin for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors: a pilot study.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford Women's Cancer Center, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the efficacy of hypnotherapy versus gabapentin for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, and to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a clinical trial comparing a drug with a complementary or alternative method (CAM).

DESIGN:

Prospective randomised trial.

SETTING:

Breast health centre of a tertiary care centre.

PARTICIPANTS:

15 women with a personal history of breast cancer or an increased risk of breast cancer who reported at least one daily hot flash.

INTERVENTIONS:

Gabapentin 900 mg daily in three divided doses (control) compared with standardised hypnotherapy. Participation lasted 8 weeks.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

The primary endpoints were the number of daily hot flashes and hot flash severity score (HFSS). The secondary endpoint was the Hot Flash Related Daily Interference Scale (HFRDIS).

RESULTS:

27 women were randomised and 15 (56%) were considered evaluable for the primary endpoint (n=8 gabapentin, n=7 hypnotherapy). The median number of daily hot flashes at enrolment was 4.5 in the gabapentin arm and 5 in the hypnotherapy arm. HFSS scores were 7.5 in the gabapentin arm and 10 in the hypnotherapy arm. After 8 weeks, the median number of daily hot flashes was reduced by 33.3% in the gabapentin arm and by 80% in the hypnotherapy arm. The median HFSS was reduced by 33.3% in the gabapentin arm and by 85% in the hypnotherapy arm. HFRDIS scores improved by 51.6% in the gabapentin group and by 55.2% in the hypnotherapy group. There were no statistically significant differences between groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hypnotherapy and gabapentin demonstrate efficacy in improving hot flashes. A definitive trial evaluating traditional interventions against CAM methods is feasible, but not without challenges. Further studies aimed at defining evidence-based recommendations for CAM are necessary.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00711529).

KEYWORDS:

Breast Cancer; Hot Flashes; Hypnotherapy

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