Background & aims: We have shown hypnotherapy (HT) to be effective in irritable bowel syndrome, with long-term improvements in symptomatology and quality of life (QOL). This study aimed to assess the efficacy of HT in functional dyspepsia (FD).
Methods: A total of 126 FD patients were randomized to HT, supportive therapy plus placebo medication, or medical treatment for 16 weeks. Percentage change in symptomatology from baseline was assessed after the 16-week treatment phase (short-term) and after 56 weeks (long-term) with 26 HT, 24 supportive therapy, and 29 medical treatment patients completing all phases of the study. QOL was measured as a secondary outcome.
Results: Short-term symptom scores improved more in the HT group (median, 59%) than in the supportive (41%; P = 0.01) or medical treatment (33%; P = 0.057) groups. HT also benefited QOL (42%) compared with either supportive therapy (10% [P < 0.001]) or medical treatment (11% [P < 0.001]). Long-term, HT significantly improved symptoms (73%) compared with supportive therapy (34% [P < 0.02]) or medical treatment (43% [P < 0.01]). QOL improved significantly more with HT (44%) than with medical treatment (20% [P < 0.001]). QOL did improve in the supportive therapy (43%) group, but 5 of these patients commenced taking antidepressants during follow-up. 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 (P < 0.001). Those in the HT group visited their general practitioner or gastroenterologist significantly less (median, 1) than did those in the supportive therapy (median, 4) and medical treatment (median, 4) groups during follow-up (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: HT is highly effective in the long-term management of FD. Furthermore, the dramatic reduction in medication use and consultation rate provide major economic advantages.