Successful treatment of intractable hiccups by oral application of lidocaine

Support Care Cancer. 2012 Nov;20(11):3009-11. doi: 10.1007/s00520-012-1533-5. Epub 2012 Jul 22.


Background: Persistent and intractable hiccups are a rather rare, but distressing gastrointestinal symptom found in palliative care patients. Although several recommendations for treatment are given, hiccups often persist.

Case reports: We describe a new pharmacological approach for successfully treating hiccups in four cancer patients. In the first patient, chronic and intractable hiccups lasted for more than 18 months, but disappeared immediately after swallowing a viscous 2 % lidocaine solution for treatment of mucositis. Based on this experience, we successfully treated three further patients suffering from singultus using a lidocaine-containing gel. To our knowledge, this is the first report about managing hiccups by oral application of a lidocaine solution.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Gels
  • Hiccup / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viscosity


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Gels
  • Lidocaine