Hypnosis for nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy: a systematic review of the research evidence

Authors

  • J. RICHARDSON bsc(hons), phd, rn, cpsychol, pgce, rnt, reader in nursing and health studies,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Health and Social Work, Portland Square, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon,
      Dr Janet Richardson, Reader in Nursing and Health Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Work, Portland Square, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK (e-mail: janet.richardson@plymouth.ac.uk).
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  • J.E. SMITH ba(hons), msc, former research assistant,

    1. NHSP/CAMEO project, Research Council for Complementary Medicine,
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  • G. MCCALL dcr(t), msc, applied hypnosis, senior research radiographer & psychological support,

    1. South-East London Cancer Centre, St Thomas’ Hospital, London,
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  • A. RICHARDSON bn(hons), msc, phd, rn, pgdiped, rnt, professor of cancer and palliative nursing care,

    1. The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London, Franklin Wilkins Building, London,
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  • K. PILKINGTON bpharm(hons), dipinfsci, msc, pcme, mrpharms,

    1. Project Manager/Senior Research Fellow, School of Integrated Health and Research Council for Complementary Medicine, University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London, &
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  • I. KIRSCH ba , ma , phd , professor of psychology

    1. School of Applied Psychosocial Studies, Portland Square, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, UK
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Dr Janet Richardson, Reader in Nursing and Health Studies, Faculty of Health and Social Work, Portland Square, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK (e-mail: janet.richardson@plymouth.ac.uk).

Abstract

To systematically review the research evidence on the effectiveness of hypnosis for cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). A compre-hensive search of major biomedical databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, ClNAHL, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library was conducted. Specialist complementary and alternative medicine databases were searched and efforts were made to identify unpublished and ongoing research. Citations were included from the databases’ inception to March 2005. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were appraised and meta-analysis undertaken. Clinical commentaries were obtained. Six RCTs evaluating the effectiveness of hypnosis in CINV were found. In five of these studies the participants were children. Studies report positive results including statistically significant reductions in anticipatory and CINV. Meta-analysis revealed a large effect size of hypnotic treatment when compared with treatment as usual, and the effect was at least as large as that of cognitive–behavioural therapy. Meta-analysis has demonstrated that hypnosis could be a clinically valuable intervention for anticipatory and CINV in children with cancer. Further research into the effectiveness, acceptance and feasibility of hypnosis in CINV, particularly in adults, is suggested. Future studies should assess suggestibility and provide full details of the hypnotic intervention.

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