Cisplatin-related hiccups: male predominance, induction by dexamethasone, and protection against nausea and vomiting

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2005 Oct;30(4):359-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2005.08.008.


Dexamethasone is likely to play a role in the etiology of hiccups in patients receiving cisplatin-based regimens. Two hundred seventy-seven patients received three doses of ondansetron 8mg intravenously (IV) at 4hour intervals plus dexamethasone 20mg IV from the start of chemotherapy, followed by dexamethasone 5mg IV every 12hours, until chemotherapy was complete. Hiccups were observed in 114 (41.2%) patients, of whom 97.4% were men. Nausea and vomiting showed inverse correlations with hiccups (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.001, respectively). In 73 patients who experienced hiccups but lacked nausea/vomiting (H+N/V-), we discontinued dexamethasone in subsequent cycles. Sixty-six patients (90.4%) ceased hiccuping, but complete protection rates of nausea and vomiting decreased to 63% and 74%, respectively. For patients who experienced both hiccups and nausea/vomiting, the onset of nausea/vomiting usually was delayed to Day 3 or 4 and began after the cessation of hiccups. We conclude that cisplatin-related hiccups are predominant in males, dexamethasone-induced, and associated with protection against nausea/vomiting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiemetics / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • Dexamethasone / adverse effects*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Hiccup / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / prevention & control*
  • Sex Factors
  • Vomiting / prevention & control*


  • Antiemetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Dexamethasone
  • Cisplatin