Background: Limited data exist regarding the efficacy of metoclopramide in the treatment of intractable hiccups.
Aim: This study aimed to assess the feasibility efficacy of metoclopramide in the treatment of patients with intractable hiccups.
Methods: A total of 36 patients with intractable hiccups was randomly assigned to arm A (n = 18) or arm B (n = 18) in a multicentre, double-blind, randomised, controlled pilot study. Participants in arm A received 10-mg metoclopramide thrice daily for 15 days, whereas those assigned to arm B received 10-mg placebo thrice daily for 15 days. The primary outcome measure was total efficacy against hiccups (including cessation and improvement of hiccups). Secondary outcome measures included a comparison of overall efficacy and adverse events between the two arms.
Results: Of the 36 patients enrolled, 34 participants completed the study. The total efficacy was higher in arm A than in arm B (relative risk, 2.75; 95% confidence interval: 1.09-6.94, P = 0.03). Furthermore, comparison between the two arms revealed that overall efficacy was higher in arm A than that in arm B (P < 0.05). No serious adverse events related to the treatment were documented in either arm. The most common adverse events occurring in patients in arm A included fatigue, upset mood and dizziness.
Conclusion: Metoclopramide appears to be a promising candidate for the treatment of patients with intractable hiccups, with mild adverse events. However, further clinical trials are required to confirm these results.
Keywords: efficacy; intractable hiccup; metoclopramide; randomised controlled study.
© 2014 The Authors; Internal Medicine Journal © 2014 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.