Hypnosis For Hot Flashes Among Postmenopausal Women in a Randomized Clinical Trial

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01293695
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 11, 2011
Results First Posted : September 17, 2015
Last Update Posted : August 16, 2016
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Gary R. Elkins, Baylor University

Brief Summary:
This study is designed to determine the effect of a Hypnosis Intervention on reducing hot flash frequency (perceived impact vs. physiologically measured impact), severity and daily interference in post-menopausal women. It is felt that the Hypnosis Intervention will result in significantly lower hot flash frequency, severity and daily interference scores (perceived impact vs. physiologically measured impact) versus Structured-Attention Control.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Hot Flashes Behavioral: Hypnosis Other: Structured attention Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The aging population of the United States and findings from the Women's Health Initiative that indicate a shift in the risk/benefits balance of hormone therapy have created a growing interest in alternative treatments for hot flashes. Hot flashes are among the most severe and frequent symptoms experienced by women during menopause. Over 66% of post-menopausal women experience hot flashes. As a result, there is a pressing need for safe and effective treatments for hot flashes. Hypnosis is one mind-body therapy that seems particularly promising for treating hot flashes.

However, the treatment effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing physiologically measured (i.e. physiologically measured impact) hot flashes with post-menopausal women has yet to be established relative to a Structured-Attention Control. This is a critical step to further investigate the intervention and to determine if hypnosis reduces the symptoms (i.e. the number of physiological hot flashes) or only the women's perception of symptoms.

Also, the physiologic mechanism by which hypnosis may operate in reducing hot flashes is not known. The present study will compare hypnosis to a Structured-Attention Control in reducing hot flashes (perceived and physiologically monitored) in post-menopausal women in a randomized clinical trial.

Innovations of this study are that it will be the first full scale test of hypnosis for hot flashes; one of the first studies to examine both perceived impact and physiologically measured impact of a mind-body intervention for hot flashes using state-of-the-art 24 hour ambulatory physiological monitoring; the first study to examine the effect of hypnosis for hot flashes on cortisol; and the first investigation of the role of cognitive expectancies in treatment of hot flashes in comparison to a Structured-Attention Control.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 187 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Hypnosis For Hot Flashes Among Postmenopausal Women in a Randomized Clinical Trial
Study Start Date : September 2007
Actual Primary Completion Date : March 2014
Actual Study Completion Date : March 2014

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Hypnosis
Receives 5 weeks of hypnotic relaxation therapy
Behavioral: Hypnosis
Hypnosis relaxation in five weekly sessions
Other Names:
  • Hypnotic relaxation therapy
  • Hypnosis relaxation
  • Hypnotic intervention
  • Hypnosis intervention

Placebo Comparator: Structured Attention
Meets with therapist for five weekly sessions, but receives no hypnotic relaxation therapy
Other: Structured attention
Meets with therapist for five weekly sessions and receives structured attention/supportive counseling, but receives no hypnotic relaxation therapy
Other Name: Placebo Comparator

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Hot Flash Frequency [ Time Frame: 6 Weeks and 12 Weeks ]
    The Hot Flash Symptoms Diary was used to measure hot flash frequency. Participants recorded their hot flashes over seven days by daily frequency and severity. This instrument provides a measure of hot flash frequency and hot flash score (product of frequency x severity).

  2. Hot Flash Score [ Time Frame: 6 Weeks and 12 Weeks ]

    Hot Flash Score is a product of frequency of hot flashes × severity of hot flashes, which could range from 0 (best possible outcome) to infinity (worst possible outcome).

    Hot flash frequency and hot flash severity were obtained using the Hot Flash Symptoms Diary. Participants recorded their daily hot flashes marking each hot flash (frequency) and rating the severity of each as mild (1), moderate (2), severe (3), and very severe (4).

    The values presented represent the average of daily hot flash scores.

  3. Hot Flash Related Daily Interference Scale (HFRDIS) [ Time Frame: 6 Weeks and 12 Weeks ]
    This questionnaire is used to measure the effects of hot flashes on women as they go about their daily activities. Answers on the scale can range 0 (Do Not Interfere) to 10 (Completely Interfere). The total score was computed by averaging the subjective ratings over the 10 items. A lower score indicates better outcome.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Sternal Skin Conductance Monitor Used to Physiologically Measure Skin Moisture [ Time Frame: 6 Weeks and 12 Weeks ]
    As a secondary outcome, hot flashes were measured using a Biolog ambulatory recorder. Skin conductance was expressed in micro Siemens (0 to infinity) and the final value was obtained by averaging the recorded skin conductance for a period of 24 hours. Lower skin conductance measure indicates less sweating.

  2. Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) [ Time Frame: 6 Weeks and 12 Weeks ]
    The Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is a self-report inventory designed to measure sleep quality. The participants self rate their sleep quality over seven areas of sleep.The questions about sleep quality are answered on a 0-3 scale with higher scores indicating greater sleep pathology. The global score is determined by summing the raw scores of the seven sleep components. The global score can range from 0 - 21 and total scores above 5 are normally considered indicative of poor sleep quality.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Postmenopausal as defined by:

    1. no menstrual period in the past 12 months;
    2. no menstrual period in the past 6 months and a medically documented history of FSH level greater than 40; or
    3. women who have had a bilateral oophorectomy.
  • A self-reported history of a minimum of 7 hot flashes per day or 50 hot flashes per week at baseline.
  • Age over 18 years and ability to give her own consent for participation in the study.
  • Have discontinued other putative therapies for hot flashes for at least one month prior to enrollment
  • Ability to attend weekly sessions.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Receiving other simultaneous treatment for hot flashes.
  • Using any CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) treatments for vasomotor symptoms • Any medical or psychiatric condition that in the opinion of the investigator puts the participant at potential risk during the study.
  • Currently using hypnosis for any reason.
  • Inability to speak or understand English

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01293695

United States, Texas
Mind-Body Medicine Research Lab-Baylor University
Waco, Texas, United States, 76798
Sponsors and Collaborators
Baylor University
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal Investigator: Gary R Elkins, Ph.D. Baylor University

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Gary R. Elkins, PhD, Baylor University Identifier: NCT01293695     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 194610
5U01AT004634 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: February 11, 2011    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: September 17, 2015
Last Update Posted: August 16, 2016
Last Verified: July 2016
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

Keywords provided by Gary R. Elkins, Baylor University:
hot flashes
post menopausal women
skin conductance monitors

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Hot Flashes
Signs and Symptoms
Hypnotics and Sedatives
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs