Does Sertraline cause hiccups? (+3 alternatives)

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline is associated with causing hiccups. We will look at the connection between the mechanism of Sertraline and hiccups. We will also look at some common management strategies for hiccups.

Does Sertraline cause hiccups?

Sertraline may cause hiccups. Although, hiccups are not a very established side effect of Sertraline but can rarely occur in some patients.

Patients having eating disorders such as binge eating may trigger hiccups while starting on Sertraline. However, if you face hiccups as a frequent side effect after being on Sertraline, report it to your doctor for a dose adjustment or medication switch.

What does research suggest?

Research studies do not suggest a clear indication regarding the effects of Sertraline on hiccups. It has been proposed that Setraline may suppress hiccupping by acting on 5HT1 and 5HT2 receptors as well as on CNS (1).

Sertraline belongs to SSRI antidepressant drug class. Sertraline works by selectively binding to serotonin transporter having low affinity for other transporters and receptors, resulting in the induction of hiccups (2).

Many other psychotropic drugs are also associated with the induction or treatment of hiccups but the mechanisms are not clear (2)

A rare case report suggests that Sertraline was linked to inducing hiccups in a 12-year patient with OCD and ADHD. He was initiated with Sertraline 25mg and after some days upon increasing the dose of Sertraline to 50mg, he faced severe hiccups for 10 to 20 mins (3).

On the 17th day of treatment, Sertraline was discontinued and replaced with Escitalopram. It was observed that the hiccups did not appear over a follow-up period of 2 months (3).

This rarely reported case highlights a connection between Sertraline and the emergence of hiccups. SSRI drug administration is generally not reported with the occurrence of hiccups (3).

The research studies proposed that the modulation of dopaminergic activity in the brain or spinal cord caused by psychotropic drugs i.e. Sertraline, may play a significant role in the occurrence of hiccups (3).

Sertraline serves as a potent inhibitor of dopamine reuptake. The increase in Sertraline dose in the above-mentioned patient may have enhanced the dopaminergic state which induced hiccups (3).

What are the factors that may trigger hiccups?

Many factors may trigger hiccups including lifestyle modifications and some underlying health conditions such as (4):

  • Head trauma
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain infections (Encephalitis, Meningitis)
  • Goitre
  • Pharyngitis
  • Irritation of tympanic membrane
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Stress
  • Eating disorders (Anorexia and Bulimia nervosa)
  • Myocardial infarction

Hiccups can also be triggered due to the ingestion of some toxic metabolites such as alcohol. Alcohol consumption may serve as a major factor in developing persistent hiccups (4).

Hiccups may also be triggered due to the use of some concomitant drugs including Dexamethasone, Diazepam, etc. which may cause hiccups as a side effect (4).

How to manage Sertraline-induced hiccups?

You can manage Sertraline-induced hiccups immediately by seeking medical help. You should monitor the exact timing and frequency of hiccups for further assistance from your medical health practitioner.

Your doctor should taper Sertraline dosage to avoid the occurrence of hiccups. If the problem persists, then he should recommend an alternate drug treatment.

If Sertraline is causing hiccups then your doctor might add a specific drug for its treatment in your regimen based on your health condition. Management of hiccups should always be directed towards the specific cause (1).

What are the medications to treat hiccups?

The medications that are used for the treatment of hiccups include (5):

  • Chlorpromazine (the only FDA-approved medication for hiccups)
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Gabapentin
  • Metoclopramide
  • Nifedipine
  • Baclofen
  • Methylphenidate

The medications mentioned above have shown effective results for the treatment of hiccups to some extent. However, always consult your doctor before starting any of these mentioned drugs for treating hiccups.


We have discussed the occurrence of hiccups while being on Sertraline. We have also discussed the management of hiccups associated with Sertraline. We have discovered some medications used in treating hiccups.

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Li Z, Xiong Z, Jiang X, Li Z, Yuan Y, Li X. Hiccups induced by aripiprazole combined with sertraline in an adolescent with olfactory reference disorder: A case report. Front Psychiatry. 2022 Jul 25;13:793716. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.793716. PMID: 35958634; PMCID: PMC9357877.


Hosoya R, Ishii-Nozawa R, Kurosaki K, Uesawa Y. Analysis of Factors Associated with Hiccups Using the FAERS Database. Pharmaceuticals [Internet]. 2021 Dec 24;15(1):27. Available from:


Bilgiç, A. (2018). Possible Sertraline-Induced Hiccups in a Boy With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Clinical Neuropharmacology, 1. doi:10.1097/wnf.0000000000000311


Brañuelas Quiroga J, Urbano García J, Bolaños Guedes J. Hiccups: a common problem with some unusual causes and cures. Br J Gen Pract. 2016 Nov;66(652):584–586. doi: 10.3399/bjgp16X687913. Erratum in: Br J Gen Pract. 2017 Jan;67(654):13. PMID: 27789508; PMCID: PMC5072913.


Woelk CJ. Managing hiccups. Can Fam Physician. 2011 Jun;57(6):672-5, e198-201. Erratum in: Can Fam Physician. 2021 Feb;67(2):84. PMID: 21673211; PMCID: PMC3114667.

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