I haven't read the full study, but based on the abstract I'm really not sure what to make of it. The title of the article boldly claims that hypnosis is superior to nicotine replacement therapy, but this doesn't seem to be backed up by their data. The headline of the results section is that "Hypnotherapy patients were more likely than NRT patients to be nonsmokers at 12 weeks" but the statistics they use to back this up indicate that the effect is not statistically significant (43.9% vs. 28.2%;p = 0.14) - this seems like a rather creative reading of the data. Worse, at 26 weeks follow-up none of the three treatment groups were superior to a group of patients who refused all treatment and decided to 'self-quit'. My impression is that this study doesn't add greatly to the generally weak evidence of hypnosis' effectiveness as an intervention for smokers.

Hasan, F., Zagarins, S. E., Pischke, K. M., Saiyed, S., Bettencourt, A. M., Beal, L., Macys, D., Aurora, S., McCleary, N. (2014). Hypnotherapy is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, in press

Abstract

Background

The efficacy of pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation is well documented. However, due to relapse rates and side effects, hypnotherapy is gaining attention as an alternative treatment option. The aim of this one-center randomized study was to compare the efficacy of hypnotherapy alone, as well as hypnotherapy with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), to conventional NRT in patients hospitalized with a cardiac or pulmonary illness.

Methods

We evaluated self-reported and biochemically verified 7-day prevalence smoking abstinence rates at 12 and 26 weeks post-hospitalization. Patients (n = 164) were randomized into one of three counseling-based treatment groups: NRT for 30 days (NRT; n = 41), a 90-min hypnotherapy session (H; n = 39), and NRT with hypnotherapy (HNRT; n = 37). Treatment groups were compared to a “self-quit” group of 35 patients who refused intervention.

Results

Hypnotherapy patients were more likely than NRT patients to be nonsmokers at 12 weeks (43.9% vs. 28.2%;p = 0.14) and 26 weeks after hospitalization (36.6% vs. 18.0%; p = 0.06). Smoking abstinence rates in the HNRT group were similar to the H group. There was no difference in smoking abstinence rates at 26 weeks between “self quit” and participants in any of the treatment groups. In multivariable regression analysis adjusting for diagnosis and demographic characteristics, H and HNRT were over three times more likely than NRT participants to abstain at 26-weeks post-discharge (RR = 3.6; p = 0.03 and RR = 3.2; p = 0.04, respectively).

Conclusion

Hypnotherapy is more effective than NRT in improving smoking abstinence in patients hospitalized for a smoking-related illness, and could be an asset to post-discharge smoking cessation programs.

View paper at ScienceDirect

 

 

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