Does Fluoxetine cause hiccups? (+3 tips)
In this article, we will answer the question “Does Fluoxetine cause hiccups?”. We will discuss what research has to say in this regard, factors contributing to the likelihood of increasing hiccups and tips to manage hiccups while on Fluoxetine.
Does Fluoxetine cause hiccups?
Fluoxetine may cause hiccups. This is not a very common side effect of Fluoxetine treatment but some individuals may experience hiccups while taking Fluoxetine.
Fluoxetine (also known as Prozac) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) indicated to be used for the treatment and management of major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa, panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) and bipolar disorder (in combination with olanzapine) (1).
Fluoxetine has also been used ‘off-label’ for the management of social anxiety disorder (SAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Raynaud’s phenomenon, borderline personality disorder and selective mutism (2).
Hiccups are involuntary sounds made by the sudden onset of irregular contractions of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. This is followed by the closure of the larynx hence producing the distinct ‘hic’ sound (3).
Normally, hiccups will resolve on their own but sometimes they last longer. If the individual has been experiencing hiccups for less than 48 hours they are called acute hiccups, if they last longer than 48 hours, they will be called persistent hiccups, and if the episodes have lasted for over 2 months, they will be termed as intractable hiccups (3,4).
Although Fluoxetine can rarely cause hiccups, individual responses to the medication may vary from person to person. So some individuals may experience hiccups while taking Fluoxetine. If you frequently face hiccups while taking Fluoxetine, then you should consult your healthcare provider for appropriate guidance.
What does research suggest?
Research does not suggest that Fluoxetine can be the direct cause of hiccups. Various healthcare professionals often associate the occurrence of hiccups as a result of stress, anxiety, sleep problems and fatigue (5).
Research studies and scientific literature do not support hiccups to be a side effect of Fluoxetine treatment. The most common side effects of Fluoxetine treatment are related to mood, mental health and sometimes even gut health.
Fluoxetine is an antidepressant medication used to manage and treat many different depressive illnesses. There was no evidence indicating the occurrence of hiccups due to Fluoxetine use. Some individuals may report hiccups while taking Fluoxetine, and this may be due to stress or anxiety for which Fluoxetine has been prescribed (6).
What factors can contribute to hiccups while taking Fluoxetine?
Although Fluoxetine does not cause hiccups, various factors may contribute to their occurrence. Some of them are as follows (7):
Underlying medical condition
Sometimes underlying medical conditions are responsible for the occurrence of hiccups while taking Fluoxetine.
Medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), metabolic problems, nerve damage or irritation and central nervous system issues like tumours or brain injury may cause hiccups.
An unhealthy diet and excessive consumption of spicy food and carbonated beverages while taking Fluoxetine can also trigger hiccups in some individuals.
Stress and anxiety can also cause hiccups. Stress tends to cause shallow or irregular breathing. These altered breathing patterns can irritate the muscles of the diaphragm. This irritation can result in the occurrence of hiccups.
If you experience persistent hiccups while taking Fluoxetine it is recommended to consult your doctor to assess the underlying cause of your symptoms.
How to manage Fluoxetine-induced hiccups?
If you experience hiccups while taking Fluoxetine, here are some tips to manage this symptom:
Lifestyle changes are important to reduce the chances of hiccups. Improving dietary habits, eating slowly and avoiding spicy food and carbonated beverages are some of the changes you can make to help you minimize the occurrence of hiccups.
Hydration is key to everything. Sometimes dehydration can lead to hiccups. Make sure you keep yourself adequately hydrated to reduce the chances of hiccups while taking Fluoxetine.
You should identify potential triggers and try to avoid them. If certain types of foods or habits cause hiccups, try minimizing exposure or avoiding them altogether, to minimize the occurrence of this side effect.
Stress and anxiety are known to cause hiccups. Reducing stress can help alleviate this symptom. Stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises can help in this regard.
Consult your healthcare provider
If hiccups are persistent and do not subside, you should consider consulting your healthcare provider. Your doctor will evaluate your situation, find out the underlying cause of your hiccups and may adjust your dosage or change your medication to help manage this symptom.
Sometimes persistent hiccups are a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider, as they can help diagnose the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.
What medications are available to treat hiccups?
Some medications used to treat hiccups are as follows (7):
The above medications have shown positive results to help with hiccups in some cases. However, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before starting treatment with any medication to manage your hiccups.
To the best of my knowledge and according to research studies, there is no direct evidence to suggest that Fluoxetine causes hiccups. However, it is crucial to consider that every individual may react differently to Fluoxetine, leaving a slight possibility of the occurrence of this side effect. Hiccups may be triggered in some individuals due to anxiety, stress or other rare side effects of this medication.
In my opinion, finding and understanding the underlying cause of hiccups while on Fluoxetine, can help manage this symptom. Keeping open communication with your healthcare provider can be beneficial in the formation of a personalised care plan according to your needs.
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. PROZAC® (fluoxetine capsules) for oral use. Available from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/018936s108lbl.pdf
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Wieland J, Martin N, Jatoi A. Healthcare Providers’ Experiences with Hiccups in Patients with Cancer: Report of a United States National Survey. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine®. 2023 Aug;40(8):872-80. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36172916/
Nishikawa T, Araki Y, Hayashi T. Intractable hiccups (singultus) abolished by risperidone, but not by haloperidol. Annals of General Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;14:1-3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4355965/
Chang FY, Lu CL. Hiccup: mystery, nature and treatment. Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility. 2012 Apr;18(2):123. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325297/