Management of intractable hiccups: an illustrative case and review

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2014 Mar;31(2):220-4. doi: 10.1177/1049909113476916. Epub 2013 Feb 12.


Often thought of as a benign and self-limited condition, hiccups can become persistent or intractable, and thus be associated with substantial morbidity and distress. In such cases, an underlying etiology is often present, and may be overlooked. Debilitating hiccups can present a major challenge to optimal symptom management. Various causes of protracted hiccups have been identified including metabolic abnormalities, central nervous system pathology, malignancy, medications, and disorders attributed to cardiac, pulmonary and gastrointestinal etiologies. We present a case of intractable hiccups in a patient with an advanced hematological malignancy and review specific therapies for the management of persistent hiccups.

Keywords: bone marrow transplantation; cancer; gabapentin; hiccups; olanzapine; palliative care.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hiccup / diagnosis
  • Hiccup / etiology
  • Hiccup / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Plasma Cell / complications
  • Leukemia, Plasma Cell / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy