Interventions for treating persistent and intractable hiccups in adults
Hiccups involve repeated, involuntary contractions of the muscles used for breathing. They usually stop of their own accord; rarely, however, they may last for more than 48 hours. When they do persist, hiccups can cause a patient considerable upset, interfere with sleeping and eating, and can lead to other complications. Many different drugs and non-drug measures have been suggested to stop long-lasting hiccups. This review aimed to find out whether there is good evidence that any of these work. We searched for good quality studies that involved adult patients (18 or older) who had experienced hiccups for 48 hours or more. Our conclusion is that there is insufficient evidence to recommend a particular treatment for hiccups. There is a need for randomised controlled studies to identify which treatments might be effective or harmful in treating persistent hiccups.