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).
Prospective randomised trial.
Breast health centre of a tertiary care centre.
15 women with a personal history of breast cancer or an increased risk of breast cancer who reported at least one daily hot flash.
Gabapentin 900 mg daily in three divided doses (control) compared with standardised hypnotherapy. Participation lasted 8 weeks.
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).
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.
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.