gms | German Medical Science

G-I-N Conference 2012

Guidelines International Network

22.08 - 25.08.2012, Berlin

Acupuncture for cancer patients suffering from hiccups: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Meeting Abstract

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  • T.Y. Choi - Medical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
  • M.S. Lee - Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
  • E. Ernst - Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Guidelines International Network. G-I-N Conference 2012. Berlin, 22.-25.08.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocP002

doi: 10.3205/12gin114, urn:nbn:de:0183-12gin1149

Published: July 10, 2012

© 2012 Choi et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Although intractable hiccups are relatively uncommon, they can seriously affect a patient's quality of life. The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating hiccups in patients with cancer.

Methods: Thirteen databases were searched from their inception through to July 2011, without restrictions for language. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were included, if acupuncture was used as the sole treatment or as a part of a combination therapy with conventional drugs for hiccups in cancer patients. Studies were included if they compared acupuncture against placebo, drug therapy or no treatment. Cochrane criteria were used to assess the risk of bias.

Results: A total of 5 RCTs met our inclusion criteria. All the included RCTs were associated with a high risk of bias. The majority of studies suggested favorable effects of acupuncture as compared with conventional treatments. A meta-analysis revealed superior response rates for acupuncture as compared with drug therapy (n=126; RR, 1.72; 95% CI 1.29 to 2.31; P=0.0003; I2=0%).

Conclusions: This systematic review provides only very limited evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture compared with drug therapy in treating hiccups. The total number of RCTs included in this review was low, as was their methodological quality. Rigorous RCTs will be necessary in the future to test the efficacy of acupuncture for treating hiccups in cancer patients.

Implications for guideline developers, users: Cancer patients suffering from hiccups acupuncture is safe and useful procedure in intractable hiccups who do not effected in hiccups medications.