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Researchers Say Drug Can Quickly Block Hiccups 23

Ant writes: "If you can't cure your hiccups with a glass of water, a sudden scare or by holding your breath, an injection of the drug nefopam may help, according to a letter published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers in Rome said they were able to relieve incapacitating hiccups in three patients within a minute with a single injection of the drug, a painkiller that prevents shivering that is available outside the United States."
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Researchers Say Drug Can Quickly Block Hiccups

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  • Nefopam commonly produces nausea, nervousness and dry mouth as side effects.
    That is a similar cure to my own, but without the nervousness & dry mouth. I stick my fingers down my throat to just before the point of vomiting. My body then has to deal with the other spasms, forgetting about the hiccups and almost always curing it.
  • They usually *hic* go away after a while... when you've stopped *hic* thinking about hiccups while reading a *hic* Slashdot post.
  • Okay, so there might be such a thing, but it would be a chronic case, lasting a long enough time to warrant seeing a doctor, right?

    So, how important would it be for the doctor to have an instantaneous cure?


  • I've heard of a study done several years ago into the CAUSE of hiccups - apparently it's caused by a change in the pH of the blood, either too alkaline or too acidic.

    So, when you have the hiccups - what did you just eat? Something acidic? Something alkaline?

    Once you know, then you either eat a spoonful of sugar (if you think your blood is too acidic), or you drink some orange juice (if you think your blood is too alkaline). Voila.

    The drug in the article probably stabilizes one's pH, presumably. Either that or it only works for one type of pH imbalance.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am not a doctor (yet), but I can assure you that the sugar-OJ thing isn't anything more than increasing your abdominal pressure. OJ is acidic, but sugar consumption leads to acid production too. Hiccups are just spasms of your diaphragm. Judging by the ending of the drug, it's probably a benzodiazepine (a la Valium (diazepam) or Xanax (alprazolam)). They're excellent at stopping spasms - thus their use in epilepsy.
  • You can make your blood slightly more acidic very quickly: rebreathe into a largish paper bag for a couple of minutes (not plastic, please -- it's potentially too effective... you want to keep breathing, right?). CO2 blood levels go up, and you get a touch more acidic.

    This is the only real cure for hiccups I've found; it works every time, in just a couple of minutes. Everything else is just rolling the dice, as far as I can tell.


  • Not only is there such a thing, but from all accounts it's debilitating -- some people get hiccups for years at a time. I've even heard of suicide attributed to it... can't find the link, though.

    Gawd, I can't imagine years' worth of hiccups; a few minutes is enough to drive me nuts!


  • Hmmm, an anti-spasmodic bieng used to stop involuntary contraction's of muscles. I think the person might just have a point.

    Sorry for the sarcasm. Whatever the cause may be, drinking a glass of orange-juice is not going to raise your bloods ph in any significant level of consumption. And sugar will not nutralize the acid. Not to mention the fact that it takes more than a couple of minutes for either to start to get abosrbed.

  • Please answer me this. How long does it take for something that has been eaten to get absorbed into the blood stream.

    The only effecive way to raise or lower blood ph is by holding your breath/ breathing into a paper bag (increases the CO2 level in your blood) or hyper-ventalating (lowers the level of CO2 in your blood).

  • for my wife, so I wonder how laughing changes the ph in your blood?!
  • To clear things up a bit, you should know that benzodiazepines are not anti-spasmodics. And they are not excellent at stopping *spasms*. They are central nervous system depressants, and thus their use in epilepsy. They stop the aberrant electrical activity in the epileptic focus and stop it from generalizing. They have nothing to do with the muscle contractions in generalized tonic clonic seizures.

  • Probably wouldn't work on the chronic cases, but it works every time for me & everyone I've seen use it: Block your ears with your thumbs, and your nose with your index fingers. Pick up a glass full of water with the rest of your fingers and drink it while keeping aforementioned orifices blocked. It looks completely absurd, but it works.


  • Hmm... let's contrast the cure (which, although I haven't tried it, admittedly looks completely ridiculous)...

    with your sig: "There's another sucker born every minute."

    Riight... :-)

  • Doesn't it seem a little odd that someone went to the trouble of inventing an INJECTION to cure the HICCUPS?! Next they'll have a pill to cure random sneezing. Honestly, if you want my dollar, invent a spray that will make people lose thier voices. Be damned if I have to listen to a couple of idiots talk through Dracula 2k again.
  • "...aberrant electrical activity in the epileptic focus and stop it from generalizing..."

    sounds like frickin star trek
  • Man, I wish I would've seen this article about 4 hours ago... we're having a mini-LAN party here and one of the guys had hiccups for about 3 1/2 hours straight... ;)
  • usually it's an irritation of your epiglottis or one of the nerves that inervates it.

    As far as changing your blood pH by drinking some OJ...won't happen since your blood has a pretty strong buffering system (Bicarb CO2/HCO3- @pH 7.4)

    Most sugars (including table sugar) are electrically neutral in solution. They do not change you blood pH except in special cases ( shock).

    Nefopam is a central nervous system analgesic with an unknown mechanism of action. It has anti-cholinergic/sympathomimetic actions. It's analgesic properties probably quiet down the irritated nerve that is producing the hiccups.
  • Haldol is supposed to work to a limited extent - I've had 2 patients with intractable hiccups and it kinda worked in 1 guy for a couple of weeks only. It's always dissapointing to try and tell someone that there isn't a drug for something as simple and annoying as hiccups.

    Nefopam is related to diphenhydramine (active ingred in Benadryl). It is a CNS analgesic with an unknown mech of analgesic action. It prevents neuronal re-uptake of 5-HT, dopamine and to a lesser extent noradrenaline. It also has anti-cholinergic properties and some sympathomimetic action.

    Orthopaedics....we know more than just bones, we just pretend we don't.
  • If you read the article or looked up Nefopam, then you would know that it has other uses. Most likely someone was using it for some pain study and a few patients said.."Hey, my hiccups stopped" and thus another use was found. ALOT of medicine/science works that way. Not all side effects are bad..
  • This is going to sound really strange, but about 10 years ago I discovered a curiously effective hiccup cure by accident. My girlfriend of the epoch was suffering from a long and debilitating bout of the 'cups, and as an experiment I decided to try a sort of aversion therapy, hugging her and delivering a sharp compressive impulse whenever she hiccuped. Much to my surprise, she stopped immediately, just from the hug... the shock therapy was unnecessary. This worked reliably with her, and I thought it would end there, but I began trying it on other people with startling results. Definitely a hit at parties . The trick is simply a warm, slow, relaxed, calm hug... and it is about 75% effective. YMMV. (It's odd that for such a chronic full-time geek and long-time /. reader, my first post is about hiccups....) --Steve
  • My question is simple: why would anyone pay for a drug that relieves hiccups? It just doesn't seem commercially viable. And we all know what that means.
  • I discovered long ago that drinking coke gets rid of them right away --- it's the carbonation that does it. Also, when I can't find a coke, the old "swish and swallow" routine with a mouthful of water usually does it, too. No more than 2 or 3 tries with either method and they are gone :)
  • It just doesn't seem commercially viable. And we all know what that means.

    Digital Convergence applied for a patent on it?

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake