Hypnosis Decreases Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Survivors

Armen Hareyan's picture

Hypnosis appears to reduce hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. These results were published in an early online publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Hot flashes can be a significant problem in women with a history of breast cancer. Given concerns regarding the use of hormonal therapies in such patients, other non-hormonal approaches to treating hot flashes are required. Agents that have been used to treat hot flashes in women include Paxil® (paroxeine hci), Prozac® (fluoxetine), and Zoloft® (sertraline)-drugs used primarily to treat depression. A recent study from Germany reported that the anti-depressive agent Effexor® (venlafaxine) is more effective than Catapres® (clonidine) for the treatment of hot flashes in women with breast cancer.


Researchers from Baylor University, University of Texas, and Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a clinical trial to explore the potential effects of hypnosis on control of hot flashes among women treated for breast cancer. This trial included 51 breast cancer survivors who received either five weekly sessions of hypnosis or no treatment.

Hot flashes were reported to be diminished in 68% of patients receiving hypnosis.
Patients receiving hypnosis also reported decreases in anxiety, depression, interference of hot flashes with daily activities, and sleep problems.
The researchers concluded that hypnosis appears to effectively reduce hot flashes among breast cancer survivors. These results warrant further study into the potential role of hypnosis for the treatment of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors.

Reference: Elkins G, Marcus J, Stearns V, et al. Randomized trial of a hypnosis intervention for treatment of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology [early online publication]. September 22, 2008.