Metoclopramide for patients with intractable hiccups: a multicentre, randomised, controlled pilot study

Intern Med J. 2014 Dec;44(12a):1205-9. doi: 10.1111/imj.12542.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • China
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Hiccup / drug therapy*
  • Hiccup / physiopathology
  • Hiccup / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metoclopramide / administration & dosage
  • Metoclopramide / adverse effects
  • Metoclopramide / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists
  • Metoclopramide

Associated data

  • ChiCTR/CHICTRTRC13003916