Samuel H.F. Lam, MD, RDMS, FACEP, department of Emergency Medicine, support Christ clinical Center, Oak Lawn, IL.

You are watching: Coughing and hiccuping at the same time

Conal Roche, MD, room of Emergency Medicine, man H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of cook County, Chicago, IL.

Peer Reviewer:

John Sarko, MD, Maricopa medical Center, Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine, college of Arizona–Phoenix medical School, Phoenix, AZ.

Coughs and also hiccups are common emergency room complaints. If the majority of their causes are benign, patients v these symptoms deserve to suffer from far-reaching distress and also impaired quality of life. Many patients v these symptoms can be effectively managed by knowledge the pathophysiology and also differential diagnosis of these symptoms and by using evidence-based therapy. That is vital for the medical professional to be mindful of the emergent conditions that may present with these seemingly light complaints.


Cough is one of the most usual chief complaints in the emergency department.1-3 sneeze is categorized as acute if it lasts much less than three weeks, subacute if that lasts 3 to eight weeks, and chronic if that lasts much more than eight weeks. Many coughing episodes room acute, yet in nonsmokers, there is about a 12-14% incidence of sneeze lasting longer than three weeks, and the incidence of chronic sneeze is around 1%.4 Illnesses that develop cough dilute the quality of life and are responsible because that over 20 million lost days of occupational in the United states each year.5-6


A cough might be either a pure reflex or a volitional response. Laryngeal, or reflex cough, is often triggered through aspiration, with minimal associated inspiration. Tracheobronchial cough is initiated by receptor distal come the larynx and also may take place voluntarily or through a reflex arc. Coughing is clearly protective, preventing aspiration and enhancing ciliary activity and debris clearance.

Afferent receptors because that the "cough pathway" are located throughout the upper and also larger airways. Afferent arcs space mediated by the vagus nerve. In the proximal airways, the afferent receptors are mainly mechanoreceptors that transition primarily come chemoreceptors in the distal airways. In some people with variant vagus nerve innervation to the tympanic membrane, cough solution can be triggered by stimulation come the outside ear canal. The main and brainstem cough centers room subject come extensive and also poorly taken modulation from other respiratory reflex arcs, sleep state, and voluntary initiation and suppression. The efferent pathway initiates laryngeal and also respiratory muscles, and also reflexive pelvic sphincters.

Causes the cough space often divided into upper and also lower airway sources, but research has shown likewise elevated level of inflammatory mite in the lower airways in many conditions, resulting in a an ext unified airway theory.7

Pathologic claims that potentially result in chronic cough might work by enhanced airway receptor exposure to stimulating tachykinins, upregulation or sensitization that receptors, or by main modulation the the reflex arc. An ext recently in the pulmonary literature, it has been argued that, rather than fitting chronic sneeze into created diseases, it have to be defined as a separate diagnosis of sneeze hypersensitivity syndrome.8

Etiology and Differential Diagnosis

Cough together the Chief complain in Life-threatening Diagnoses. Coughs are generally found in patients v tracheobronchial infections, such as pneumonia, bronchial inflammation, and chronic obstructive pulmonary condition (COPD) exacerbations. A potentially life-threatening condition, pulmonary embolism (PE) is an created mimic of community-acquired pneumonia.9,10 sneeze was also identified as an independent predictor of hold-up in diagnosis that PE in emergency department patients.11 In a huge 2008 retrospective review, sneeze was current in 12-43% of elderly patients v PE.12 In addition, PE has been shown repeatedly to be existing in at least 20% the patients with atypical gift of COPD exacerbation.13 Therefore, the existence of cough and also even sputum production does not rule out the diagnosis that PE, particularly in an older population.10 This very same level of fist should apply to patients well-known to have actually increased hazard for thromboembolic disease when cough is not explained by transmittable or post-infectious causes.14

Experienced clinicians are mindful that cough have the right to be connected with heart failure (HF).15 In patient who existing with persistent non-productive cough, HF need to be taken into consideration in the context of suggestive result on history and physics exam.

Significant correlation has actually been found in between chronic cough and myocardial infarction (MI).16 In an additional study, 15% of patient who ultimately were discovered to have actually anterior MI complained of sneeze in enhancement to their chest pain. Patients through inferior and also lateral MI were significantly less most likely to have actually cough (3-6% incidence).17 cough is likewise commonly viewed with development of cardiac shock and also pulmonary edema in the infarcting patient.

Acute Cough. Acute sneeze is frequently caused by upper respiratory tract epidemic (sinusitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis), reduced respiratory street infections (bronchitis, pneumonia), pertussis, allergic reactions, chemical or toxicity exposure, and exacerbation of chronic problems such together asthma, COPD, or interstitial lung disease.

Subacute Cough. Subacute sneeze is most generally attributed come postinfectious etiology. Post-infectious cough is thought to be because of excessive inflammatory and hypersecretory alters to the upper and lower airways, together with cough receptor hypersensitivity ~ a famous infection.18

Chronic Cough. In a nonsmoking, immunocompetent patient through chronic cough, through no evident infectious etiology, and not taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), greater than 90% will be meeting to top airway sneeze syndrome, asthma, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, in this order of prevalence.2,19,20 numerous patients have much more than one procedure involved, further complicating evaluation.

Post-nasal drip syndromeAcute bacterial sinusitisAllergic fungal sinusitisAllergic rhinitisNonallergic rhinitis with eosinophilia (NARES)Occupational rhinitisPostinfectious rhinitisRhinitis as result of anatomic abnormalitiesRhinitis because of physical or chemical irritantsRhinitis medicamentosa (rebound rhinitis after use of sleep decongestants)Rhinitis that pregnancyVasomotor rhinitis

Upper Airway sneeze Syndrome (UACS). UACS is the most common reason of chronic cough and also is implicated in as much as 85% that chronic cough in nonsmokers.20,21 The diagnosis includes post-nasal drip syndrome and other common causes of rhinitis. (See Table 1.) The most generally proposed mechanism entails draining sleep or sinus secretions right into the hypopharynx and larynx leading to recurrent irritation and also stimulation of sneeze receptors.22 over there is likewise evidence that patients diagnosed through UACS have a hypersensitive sneeze reflex.23 Patients through UACS generally present v a globus sensation, nasal secretions, or frequent throat clearing. However, absence of these symptoms does not necessarily to exclude, the diagnosis. Physical exam findings might include a visible draining follow of mucous or clean secretion in the posterior oropharynx, or cobblestoning and also inflammation to the posterior pharyngeal mucosa.

Asthma and Non-Asthmatic Eosinophilic Bronchitis (NAEB). after ~ UACS, asthma is the second most common reason of chronic cough in adults, influence 24-29% of patient in the outpatient setting.24 countless of these patients will present with usual wheezing and asthma symptoms. In approximately 57% that asthma cases, cough might be the only presenting complaint.25,26 This cough-variant asthma may current without the supposed physical exam finding the wheezing, but will invariably respond to inhaled bronchodilators.

Patients through NAEB have eosinophilic airway inflammation (like asthma) but (unlike asthma) absence airway hyperresponsiveness.27 Bronchodilator treatment is typically ineffective, but they perform respond come treatment v oral and inhaled corticosteroids. Diagnosis the NAEB is much more suitably left to specialists. Nevertheless, it can be proper to begin empiric therapy with inhaled corticosteroids in the emergency room so that an assessment of effectiveness is feasible when the patience sees the specialist after discharge.

Gastroesophageal Reflux an illness (GERD). GERD is typically thought to cause cough through microaspiration. However, numerous studies have actually now demonstrated an esophageal-tracheobronchial initiation of the cough reflex, elicited by lowered pH in the distal esophagus.28

GERD has actually been taken into consideration a common reason of chronic cough, yet recent literature says that this is seldom an isolated reason of chronic cough.29,30 Cough brought about by reflux an illness was believed to be current without standard reflux symptoms approximately 75% that the time.30 This to be largely acquired from a research of coughing patients that were questioned around typical GERD symptoms after empiric treatment for GERD led to advancement in cough.28 A Cochrane testimonial in 2011 left significant doubt about the validity the this assumption, although significant improvement in sneeze scores was provided after 2 to 3 months that empiric therapy with proton pump inhibitors compared with placebo.31

Diagnostic approach to the sneeze Patient

Acute Cough.32,33 (See figure 1.) review of acute sneeze should emphasis on diagnosis the an top or reduced respiratory infection, an exacerbation the a chronic respiratory condition, ecological or ACEI exposure, and also whether the presentation can represent patent HF, acute coronary syndrome (ACS), or PE presentation.

Figure 1: Acute Cough


Acute bronchitis is one of the most common emergency department diagnoses provided for the sneeze patient, yet is assumed to it is in overused.34 The diagnosis of acute bronchitis should only be considered in a patient v cough much less than 3 weeks, in the absence of exacerbation that chronic reactive airway disease or nasal and upper respiratory tract symptoms more consistent v the typical cold, and also without evidence for pneumonia top top chest radiography.34

Subacute Cough. comparable to acute sneeze evaluation, subacute cough assessment should focus on identify post-infectious or ongoing contagious sources. Suspicion for pertussis and also post-viral bacter pneumonia need to be greater in these patients. If no infectious source is apparent, this patients must be evaluated together chronic sneeze patients.

Chronic Cough.24,29,33,35 (See number 2.) patient presenting v chronic cough should be asked around risk factors and also symptoms that could suggest the existence of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, cancer, and also any various other immunocompromised status. It is appropriate to achieve a chest radiograph, primarily to assess because that radiopaque foreign body, bronchogenic carcinoma, or mediastinal mass.

Figure 2: Chronic Cough


Current data suggest that as much as one in six instances of adult asthma and chronic cough can be deadline to job-related exposure.36,37 in addition to questions about smoking and ACEI use, it is reasonable to display patients through chronic cough for work-related exposures. Questions about co-workers with comparable symptoms, whether there is development of complaints ~ above the weekend or vacation, or if the patient can recall a sentinel event (spill, explosion), room all ideal in the evaluation.

At-risk groups include mine workers, farmers, painters, cleaners, bakers, and lumber sector workers, amongst others exposed to high levels of aerosolized substances.38 The most common agents discovered to add to work chronic cough and asthma symptom are: adhesives, metals, resins, flour and grain dust, latex, animals, aldehydes, and wood dust.36 agriculture is connected with numerous respiratory hazards and also results most frequently in asthma and also rhinitis. Exposure to wet winter conditions and high mold counts in stored plants can result in fungal pneumonias and also hypersensitivity syndromes. Several significant acute sneeze syndromes are also associated v high nitrite gas or organic dust exposure.39 Symptom surveillance of 9/11 civilization Trade facility responders suggests a 12-fold price of chronic cough and also bronchitis symptom in exposed individuals.40

Patients should be notified of the threats of continued exposure come inciting toxins or triggers and referred come an occupational medicine or pulmonary clinic if available. Occupational restriction, an individual protective measures, or proper trigger avoidance must be suggested.

Evaluation for Pertussis

The presence of prolonged cough and also upper respiratory contagious symptoms must raise suspicion for pertussis. Research studies have displayed up come 20% of city adult patient presenting for better than two weeks the cough have actually positive pertussis antibody top top testing.41,42 Paroxysmal cough, inspiratory whoop, or post-tussive emesis is less likely to be present in a formerly vaccinated population.

Microbial culture has to be the gold standard to diagnose pertussis, however may miss an ext than 50% of instances (sensitivity 12-60%), specifically when symptoms have actually been current for two weeks or more. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is much an ext sensitive (70-99%), but may return up to 14% false positives. Straight fluorescent antibody (DFA) experimentation gives results within minutes, yet has extremely variable sensitivity and also specificity, and also is no recommended by the Centers for an illness Control and also Prevention. In general, if the patience presents in the very first three weeks of disease, nasopharyngeal swabs need to be sent out for PCR or DFA, relying on the separation, personal, instance lab, along with microbial culture. If the patience presents after three weeks, serologic experimentation may be much more appropriate, as the nasopharyngeal swabs end up being even less sensitive at this point. However, if the clinician has high pre-test suspicion for pertussis based upon the existence of standard symptoms or recognized exposure in one unvaccinated individual, treatment must be initiated nevertheless of trial and error results early to limited sensitivity in every one of the easily accessible tests.43 Furthermore, these tests need to not be provided to display patients in whom there is an extremely low or no hesitation for pertussis, together this will an outcome in high false-positive rates and also unnecessary antibiotic use.

Patients need to be isolated from unvaccinated or under-vaccinated individuals, particularly infants, at the very least until 5-7 job of therapy room completed, yet ideally for four weeks. Treatment will not decrease the duration of symptoms when patients have reached a paroxysmal sneeze stage, but will decrease the price of transmission.43

Management the Chronic Cough

ACEI Use and also Smoking. studies have shown that cough is current in approximately 10-12% that patients taking ACEIs. Patients through chronic cough and also ACEI use for much less than one year should have actually them discontinued, preferably in conjunction through their main physicians.33,44 ACEI-induced cough should be supposed to resolve from two days to 2 weeks ~ cessation, however may take it as long as 4 weeks to check out improvement.44

Smokers should be offered counseling because that quitting and should expect advancement in coughing within four weeks after cigarette smoking cessation.33





First-generation antihistamines

Chlorpheniramine 4 mg PO every 4-6 hours, diphenhydramine 25- 50 mg PO every 4-6 hours


Pseudoephedrine 60 mg PO every 4-6 hours


B2-agonist inhaler

Albuterol MDI 2 puffs as necessary

Steroid inhaler

Beclomethasone MDI 2 sprays (80 mcg/spray) when daily


Behavioral modification

Avoid common dietary triggers, huge meals, meals before bed

Proton pump inhibitor

Omeprazole 40 mg PO when daily

Prokinetic agent

Metoclopramide 10 mg PO 3 times a day

UACS, Asthma, and also GERD. (See Table 2.) Studies have shown that patients" explanation of term of symptoms, high quality of cough, and also sputum production are unreliable in creating an ultimate diagnosis.45 Therefore, these conditions are now defined by a solution to therapy, quite than a classic constellation that symptoms. If one diagnosis shows up most likely based on brief questioning, the is ideal to treat this etiology first. Otherwise, therapy must be command to each cause in bespeak of prevalence.

UACS. In the regardless of patient, initial treatment must be directed at this potential cause. Therapy must involve a mix of a first-generation antihistamine and also a decongestant.46 A minimum of 2 weeks" treatment is recommended, although complete symptom resolution can not be seen for number of weeks or months.33

Asthma. In a patience who has actually failed a attempt of antihistamines and also a decongestant, it is proper to begin a psychological of inhaled albuterol in the emergency department, also in the lack of wheeze or an extensive expiratory respiration on exam. If the patient has innovation of symptoms, that or she might be discharged through an inhaled beta-agonist and also inhaled corticosteroids with the presumptive diagnosis the cough-variant asthma and a referral back to the primary treatment physician or a specialist because that follow-up and much more extensive experimentation as needed.24,26 also with normal spirometry and hyperresponsiveness testing, present recommendations allow for exclusion of cough-variant asthma as a resource of chronic cough just after a psychological of typical therapy has actually failed.26

GERD. Empiric therapy in the lack of typical GERD symptoms need to not it is in instituted unless the patience has currently failed an sufficient trial of treatment for UACS and asthma. That is reasonable come suggest typical lifestyle adjustments that have actually been presented to boost reflux symptoms, if initiating treatment for UACS or asthma.30 If medical therapy is initiated indigenous the emergency department, a proton pump inhibitor with or there is no a prokinetic certified dealer is preferred.30,47,48 treatment of as much as 2-3 months might be essential for effectiveness to it is in seen and also responsiveness determined. However, the benefit of such technique has been called into inquiry by two current publications.49,50

Role because that Antibiotics in the coughing Patient

Evidence support antibiotic treatment for pneumonia, COPD exacerbation, and pertussis infections. (See Table 3.) Severe instances of acute sinusitis and also sinusitis v symptoms lasting much longer than a week may be suspect to it is in bacterial, and antibiotic therapy is regularly recommended. Major sinusitis is identified by high fever, exquisite tenderness come palpation of sinuses, or overlying cellulitis, in addition to the usual symptoms of nasal discharge, congestion, and also sinus pain. Many other situations of sinusitis are as result of viral resources that will likely resolve there is no antibiotic therapy.51

Evidence for Antibiotics Use

No boosted Outcomes v Antibiotics

PneumoniaCOPD exacerbation through fever or purulent sputum character61,62 bacter sinusitisBordetella pertussis infection Common coldAcute bronchitisAcute or chronic bronchitis in smokers without significant featuresEnvironmental exposures

Acute bronchitis is a typical diagnosis in the emergency department and is often associated with antibiotic prescription, contradictory to recommendations of released guidelines.34,52,53 In a 2012 study, 74% of emergency room patients v a diagnosis the acute bronchitis to be prescribed antibiotics, 77% that those being broad spectrum.54

Physicians were an ext likely to prescribe antibiotics if they believed the patient to be expecting them. The practice of delayed antibiotic prescription has been suggested as a means to decrease unnecessary antibiotic usage while maintaining satisfaction scores. A Cochrane testimonial in 2010 figured out that over there was tiny evidence to indicate improved patient satisfaction through delayed antibiotic prescribing compared with having the difficult conversation increase front.55

Role for cough Suppressants

Despite their widespread use, research studies on the effectiveness of various cough suppressants are surprisingly scant and also often contradictory. (See Table 4.) A current Cochrane review found no good evidence because that or versus the effectiveness of over-the-counter release in adults with acute cough.56


Acute cough/URI

Subacute/chronic cough

*small sample (i.e., N ≤ 15)


Mixed, imply benefit

Benefit in chronic bronchitis/COPD*


Mixed, imply no benefit

Mixed, imply benefit


Mixed, suggest benefit

Mixed, imply benefit

Inhaled ipratropium bromide

Benefit in URI

Benefit in COPD

Opioids are believed to suppress sneeze via their activity on the main nervous system. Codeine is a commonly prescribed drug in this class, yet evidence on its performance is minimal at best.57-60 hydro-codon is recommended for cancer-related cough, but its usage in sneeze of other etiologies is mainly inferred. Dextromethorphan has actually a an ext favorable side-effect profile, back clinical studies have yielded blended results. Much more recently, slow-release morphine was discovered to be effective in patients v chronic cough in a double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled trial.61

In terms of peripherally exhilaration medications, inhaled ipratropium appears to be beneficial in suppressing acute and also chronic sneeze in little studies. Guafenesin has additionally been discovered to be normally effective. In a current study, the addition of benzonatate to guaifenesin in patients with viral cough resulted in enhanced cough suppression, the very first new proof on its performance in an ext than fifty percent a century.62


Patients through cough might be discharged residence from the emergency department if no major or life-threatening pathology is found. Additional outpatient workup, if indicated, need to be coordinated with the patients" primary physicians or referral specialists.


A hiccup, also known as a hiccough or singultus, is because of sudden inspiration adhered to by abrupt closure the the glottis (Latin singult = a gasp or a sob). Hiccups are more common in youngsters than adults, much more common in adult males than in women, and more common in those v co-morbid conditions.64,65 while hiccups are frequently benign and also self-limiting in many individuals, they have the right to be debilitating and also cause far-ranging distress if prolonged. Hiccups space termed bouts if they critical for much less than 48 hours, persistent if they critical for an ext than 48 hours, and also intractable if they critical for more than a month.


Hiccups are caused by involuntary, rhythmic contractions of the diaphragm and also other accessory respiratory muscles. Their function is unknown, and also the exact neurological pathway has actually yet to it is in elucidated. Nevertheless, lock were believed to be mediated by a reflex arc v involvement of the central nervous system, the vagus nerve, and the phrenic nerve. A "hiccup center" is postulated to be situated in the brainstem or the spinal cord, receiving afferent input native the vagus nerve, the phrenic nerve, and the sympathetic chain. Efferent outputs room transmitted mostly via the phrenic nerve. Lot of neuroreceptors (dopamine, serotonin, opioid, gamma-aminobutyric acid , and also calcium channels) are hypothesized to it is in involved. Stimulation or pathology everywhere along the reflex arc can an outcome in hiccups.

Etiology and Differential Diagnosis

Gastric distension indigenous food, carbonated beverage, or aerophagia is a common cause of benign, self-limiting hiccups. Persistent hiccups space usually due to injury or wake up to the central nervous system, the vagus nerve, or the phrenic nerve. Due to the fact that the vagus and phrenic nerves innervate or course close to multiple head, neck, thoracic, and ab organs and also structures, the differential diagnosis have the right to be extensive. In addition, hiccups have the right to be psychogenic, metabolic, or pharmacologic in etiology. (See Table 5.)

Central Nervous mechanism Disorders

Ischemic/ hemorrhagic stroke

Arteriovenous malformation

Temporal arteritis



Brain abscess


Intracranial neoplasms

Brainstem neoplasms

Multiple sclerosis



Head trauma

Cardiovascular Disorders

Myocardial infarction


Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Gastrointestinal Disorders


Gastric distension

Esophageal distension




Inflammatory bowel disease


Peptic ulcer disease

Pancreatic cancer

Gastric carcinoma

Abdominal abscess

Gallbladder disease



Alpha methyldopa



Short-acting barbiturates

Chemotherapy agents


Gastric distension

General anesthesia

Intubation (stimulation of glottis)

Neck expansion (stretching the phrenic nerve roots)

Traction ~ above viscera




Conversion reaction


Thoracic Disorders






Aortic aneurysm


Chest trauma

Mediastinal and also lung tumors

Thoracic adenopathy second to infection/neoplasm








Vagus and also Phrenic Nerve Irritation




Foreign human body irritation that tympanic membrane

Neck cyst or tumor

Diagnostic approach in the Emergency Department

Patients with hiccups have to be asked around onset, severity, and duration of symptoms, editing factors, recent trauma or surgery, co-morbid conditions, alcohol and also illicit medicine use, and also current medications. A concise testimonial of systems may assist uncover unsuspected causes. Connected neurologic, cardiac, respiratory, and gastrointestinal symptoms have to be particularly sought. In general, hiccups that persist throughout sleep indicate an organic cause, if hiccups that resolve throughout sleep indicate a psychogenic cause, back this difference is not absolute.

A careful physical examination should be performed looking for an underlying etiology. In particular, one should look for signs of perhaps life-threatening problems such as central nervous mechanism pathology, myocardial injury, vascular dissection, acute surgical abdomen, and malignancy. The head and neck should be examined closely to look at for indicators of trauma, infection, goiter, and also other masses. One otoscopic exam must be diligently performed, due to the fact that a rare yet easily treatable reason of hiccups is a international body (usually hair) top top the tympanic membrane stimulating the auricular branch of the vagus nerve.

An electrolyte and also renal function panel deserve to detect causes such as uremia, hypocalcemia, and also hyponatremia. (See figure 3.) Chest radiography may help identify intrathoracic pathology. A screening electrocardiogram (ECG) is way in patients v risk determinants or far-reaching co-morbidities for ischemic love disease, since there have actually been instance reports the hiccups together a presenting symptom in patients v myocardial infarction66 or ischemia.67,68

Figure 3: Diagnostic method to Hiccups in the Emergency Department



Specific reversible reasons should be treated when found. The following concerns management of idiopathic or unrelenting cases of hiccups.

Many of the non-pharmacologic treatments argued by assorted authors are based upon stimulation the the vagus nerve or disruption the the regular respiratory bicycle in the expect of interrupting the hiccough reflex arc. (See Table 6.) However, most of them have not been tested by rigorous clinical trials, and no one technique seems come be an ext effective 보다 others.

Biting top top lemonBreath-holding/breathing into record bagDirect stimulation of nasopharynx or uvula through cotton swab/catheterDrinking from the opposite side of the glassFrightIce water gargleNoxious odors (inhaling ammonia)Pulling knee come chestSwallowing granulated sugar/peanut butterTongue tractionVagal practice (Valsalva, pushing on eyeballs, carotid sinus massage)

A myriad of pharmacologic agents have been report to be efficient in therapy of hiccups, lending support to the concept that multiple neuroreceptor types are associated in the postulated hiccough reflex arc. Chlorpromazine, a phenothiazine antipsychotic, is the just medication approved by U.S. Food and Drug management (FDA) for therapy of hiccups based on small case series. The is postulated to job-related by antagonism of main dopamine neuroreceptors. Haloperidol (non-FDA approved) likely has actually a similar mechanism of action.

Other off-label drugs reported to be efficient hiccough therapy in case collection consisting of more than 10 patients encompass gabapentin, baclofen, and also metoclopramide.69-72 Valproic acid and nifedipine were additionally used to treat hiccough v some success in case collection of five and seven patients, respectively.73,74 In addition, there have been numerous case reports attesting to effective hiccough therapy with various classes of medicines such as anticonvulsants (phenytoin, carbamazepine), antidepressants (amitriptyline, sertraline), central nervous device agents (methylphenidate, amantadine, olanzapine), steroids (dexamethasone), benzodiazepines (midazolam), and antiarrhythmics (quinidine, lidocaine). To date there has not been any kind of published clinical trial to compare the performance of different hiccough medications. Hence, the an option of pharmacologic treatment is rather empirical and also clinician-dependent. Most drug treatments room prescribed because that 7-10 days and may be discontinued upon cessation that symptoms. (See Table 7.) potentially serious side impacts include hypotension, arrhythmias, glaucoma, and also delirium.

Drug Name

Initial Dose

Maintenance Dose

25-50 mg IV/IM

25-50 mg PO 3 to 4 times a day

10 mg PO

10-20 mg PO 3 times a day

10 mg IV/IM

10-20 mg PO 3 to four times a day

2-5 mg IM

1-4 mg PO 3 times a day

100 mg PO

100-400 mg PO 3 times a day

15 mg/kg PO

15 mg/kg/day PO divided two to 3 times a day. Rise by 250 mg every 2 weeks until hiccough stop or side effects develop

10-20 mg PO

10-20 mg PO three to 4 times a day

For refractory or debilitating hiccups, more invasive treatment options such together phrenic nerve block, regulated phrenic and vagal nerve stimulation, and phrenic nerve crushing via surgery have the right to be thought about in consultation with the ideal specialists. Different medicine treatments such as hypnosis and acupuncture have likewise been found to be efficient in some cases.75-78


Generally, patients through hiccups have the right to be discharged home if no far-reaching pathology is found during an emergency room screening examination.

In situations of failed non-pharmacologic treatment, medicines such together chlorpromazine, haloperidol, metoclopramide, baclofen, among others, deserve to be initiated. Well-appearing patient with negative emergency department screening examinations have the right to be sent house on 7-10 days of outpatient therapy.


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