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A case report of using hypnosis to treat hot flashes and rheumatic symptoms

Jawaid Younus, Stephen Welch, Howard Granville

CaseRepClinPractRev 2005; 6:103-106

ID: 428827

Background: Hot flashes and rheumatic symptoms are experienced by a number of breast cancer survivors treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and Tamoxifen. These patients pose a difficult problem for clinicians responsible for their symptom management. Pharmaceutical interventions are commonly employed, although with limited efficacy and often with side effects. Hypnosis has been found effective for several medical disorders. Various pilot studies and case series have provided some evidence of using hypnosis as a promising non-pharmaceutical treatment option for such resistant symptoms. Case Report: A perimenopausal woman receiving adjuvant Tamoxifen, after chemotherapy for invasive breast cancer developed severe and disabling rheumatologic symptoms and hot flashes. These symptoms were clearly related to the use of Tamoxifen. Supportive pharmaceutical therapy did not improve any of her symptoms. She was offered hypnosis to alleviate these symptoms. The patient experienced significant improvement after two sessions of hypnotherapy. She was subsequently able to tolerate full doses of Tamoxifen and continues to do so. Conclusions: We describe in this case report an example of the utility of clinical hypnosis in the management of hot flashes and rheumatic symptoms. Despite limited clinical experience and evidence, there appears to be an emerging potential role for hypnosis in the management of these diffi- cult symptoms.

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