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Baclofen for hiccups: a large mixed methods multisite study
  1. Christopher J Ehret,
  2. Nichole Martin and
  3. Aminah Jatoi
  1. Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Aminah Jatoi, Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; Jatoi.Aminah{at}


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.

  • Pain
  • Symptoms and symptom management
  • Cancer

Data availability statement

No data are available. The data generated during this work are not availability due to Mayo confidentiality policies.

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Data availability statement

No data are available. The data generated during this work are not availability due to Mayo confidentiality policies.

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  • Contributors All authors contributed equally to this work. AJ takes responsibility for this work.

  • Funding AJ received funding from the endowed Betty J. Foust and Parents’ Professorship.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.