Acupuncture treatment for persistent hiccups in patients with cancer

J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):811-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0456.


Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of acupuncture treatment for persistent hiccups in cancer patients.

Design: The study design was a retrospective case series.

Settings/location: The study setting was the Clinical Research Center of the National Institutes of Health.

Subjects: The subjects were 16 adult male patients ages 27-71 with cancer, with persistent hiccups.

Interventions: There were one to three acupuncture sessions over a 1-7-day period.

Outcome measures: Treatment efficacy was measured using a hiccup assessment instrument pre- and post-treatment. The effects of acupuncture on common symptoms reported by all patients were also evaluated.

Results: Thirteen (13) patients experienced complete remission of persistent hiccups (p < 0.0001); 3 patients experienced decreased hiccups severity. Significant improvement was observed in discomfort (p < 0.0001), distress (p < 0.0001), and fatigue (p = 0.0078).

Conclusions: This case series demonstrates that acupuncture may be a clinically useful, safe, and low-cost therapy for persistent hiccups in patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Hiccup / classification
  • Hiccup / complications
  • Hiccup / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Management
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome