Baclofen for hiccups: a large mixed methods multisite study

Christopher J. Ehret, Nichole Martin, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Hiccups can be bothersome and spawn morbidity. Although oral baclofen is perhaps the most prescribed agent for hiccups, a paucity of data supports its use. Methods This multisite, single institution study examined the medical records of patients who had hiccups and had been prescribed baclofenas noted in a clinical encounter. Mixed methods were used to assess baclofen's palliative efficacy. In view of the sometimes transient nature of hiccups and other such factors, cessation or palliation of hiccups in 75% of patients was sought to indicate true palliation. Results A total of 301 patients with a median age of 61 years (range 20-87 years) and a male predominance are the focus of this report. Baclofen was most often prescribed at 10 mg orally three times a day. Only 105 patients (35%) (95% CI: 30% to 41%) acquired hiccup palliation. Corroborative medical record quotations included, 'Still has hiccups.'Quotations such as, 'Responding to baclofen this AM', were also recorded. Baclofen appeared more likely to benefit patients with hiccups of >48 hours (chronic) duration in univariable analyses (OR for benefit: 0.51 (95% CI: 0.29 to 0.91; p=0.02) with similar conclusions drawn from multivariable analyses. Adverse events occurred in 15 patients with drowsiness the most common. Conclusions Baclofen did not meet this study's a priori threshold for successful hiccup palliation, but further study is indicated to learn whether baclofen might help patients with chronic hiccups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1405-E1408
JournalBMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Issue numbere3
StatePublished - Feb 14 2023


  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Symptoms and symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Medical–Surgical


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