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.