Hiccups Medication: Use It When a Hiccup Lasts for More Than 48 Hours

Are hiccups keeping you up at night, or making it impossible to get through your day? If you have had hiccups for more than 48 hours, and the home remedies don’t seem to be working, you may need hiccups medication.

First things first!

Make sure that none of the medications you are currently taking are causing your hiccups.

You’ll be surprised to know that some of the medications for hiccups we use, can also cause hiccups as well!

Attempt #1: Physical Maneuvers to Stop Hiccups

There are a variety of reasons people get hiccups. Try some of the following first, before calling your doctor and requesting hiccup medication.

Don’t let the “technical” words scare you, I will explain these four things with simple words:

  • Undo the irritation of the diaphragm: squish your knees to your chest, lean forward in your chair until your belly is against your thighs.
  • Reset your breathing: hold your breath and swallow a few times.
  • Increase your vagus nerve stimulation: close your eyes and press on your eyeballs gently.
  • Activate your nasopharynx and uvula: sip cold water, gargle. See? The explanation is shorter than the actual name.

Attempt #2: Hiccup Medication

If you still have hiccups after several days (God I hope not!), you might need to see your physician. He/she may prescribe medication for hiccups, or send you to a place where you can get some hiccup medications intravenously.

Chronic hiccups
Long lasting hiccups are extremely exhausting

Several different types of medication have been used for hiccup treatment:

  • Chlorpromazine: technically, this is an anti-psychotic! But it is also approved by the FDA for treatment of refractory hiccups. The evidence to support its use is not very robust.

Dose: the starting dose for Chlorpromazine for hiccups is 25 mg by mouth, three times a day for up to 10 days.

This hiccups medicine is more effective IV, so your physician may want to administer it that way instead.

  • Metoclopramide: this is a dopamine antagonist and it also improves gastric motility. More evidence exists to support this drug for hiccup cessation than other hiccup treatment drugs.

Dose: the starting dose is 10 mg by mouth three times a day for 10 days.

Do not take this medication if you have a history of Parkinson’s disease or movement disorders.

  • Baclofen: normally used as a muscle relaxant, Baclofen is another medication for hiccups. Not too many studies support its use.

Some of the side effects to be aware of is that Baclofen can make you sleep or dizzy. It’s important not to drive a car or do anything that requires you to be awake after you take this medication, until you get used to the effects.

Other hiccup medications, that will probably sound like “What? These are hiccups treatments?” to you, include:

  • Anti-seizure medications: gabapentin, phenytoin, carbamazepine
  • Stimulants: Methylphenidate
  • Antidepressants: amitriptyline
  • Anti-arrhythmic drugs: quinidine (not used in the US anymore)
  • Nefopam
  • Olanzapine
  • Amantadine
  • Oral lidocaine

Only physicians can prescribe the above mentioned hiccup medications. Remember to exhaust all non-medication options first before going to your physician!

Have you read our home remedies for hiccups already?

Medical treatment for hiccups should be your last resource for when they symptoms lasts for a whole day or more. But again, in that case you should see the doctor, and find out the real causes.


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