Hypnotherapy (HT) has previously been found to be effective in irritable bowel syndrome, with long-term improvements in symptomatology and quality of life (QOL).
In this study, a team of researchers from Manchester, England, assessed the efficacy of HT in functional dyspepsia (FD).
The research team randomized 126 FD patients to receive HT, supportive therapy plus placebo medication, or medical treatment for 16 weeks.
They assessed percentage change in symptomatology from baseline, after the 16-week treatment phase and again after 56 weeks.
In total, 26 HT, 24 supportive therapy, and 29 medical treatment patients completed all phases of the study.
In addition, QOL was measured as a secondary outcome.
|In the long-term, hypnotherapy significantly improved symptoms in functional dyspepsia.|
The research team found that short-term symptom scores improved more in the HT group (median, 59%) than in the supportive (41%), or medical treatment (33%) groups.
HT also benefited QOL (42%) compared with either supportive therapy (10%) or medical treatment (11%).
They also found that in the long-term, HT significantly improved symptoms (73%) compared with supportive therapy (34%) or medical treatment (43%).
QOL improved significantly more with HT (44%) than with medical treatment (20%).
QOL did improve in 43% of the supportive therapy group, however 5 of these patients commenced taking antidepressants during follow-up.
The researchers determined that a total of 90% of the patients in the medical treatment group and 82% of the patients in the supportive therapy group commenced medication during follow-up, whereas none in the HT group did so.
Furthermore, during follow-up, patients in the HT group visited their general practitioner or gastroenterologist significantly less, than those in the supportive therapy and medical treatment groups.
Dr Emma Louise Calvert's team concluded, "Hypnotherapy is highly effective in the long-term management of functional dyspepsia".
"Furthermore, the dramatic reduction in medication use and consultation rate provide major economic advantages".
In a related editorial in the same publication, Drs Olafur Palsson and William Whitehead discuss the growing case for hypnosis as adjunctive therapy for functional gastrointestinal disorders.
They conclude that, "Although some of the studies to date…have been small and lacking in methodological rigor…the cumulative and consistent evidence for efficacy of hypnotherapy for these disorders seems to warrant serious consideration".