Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chemo hiccups: who knew?

Joe's had the hiccups off and on (mostly on) since yesterday afternoon. Blessings on the internet for delivering this most helpful information, #1 of 37,500 hits in response to "hiccups and chemo":
Chemo hiccups (singultus) can be caused by corticosteroids given for nausea control, such as Decadron (Dexamethosone). Curiously, decadron-induced hiccups mainly affect men, especially older men, and not women. The good news is that people who suffer from chemo hiccups are much less likely to suffer from nausea and vomitting. The bad news is about a third of patients who stop the Decadron to cure the hiccups subsequently suffer from nausea and vomitting.

Joe had Decadron the night before treatment, so that doesn't seem like it. But it does prove the theory I was developing that if it wasn't hiccups, it'd be nausea. Interesting. And furthermore:
Some of the modern antiemetics (5-HT3 receptor antagonists) can cause hiccups. These include aprepitant (Emend), granisetron (Kytril), ondansetron (Zofran) and ramosetron.

Of course, Joe is taking Zofran. And with this information, I can remember that yesterday's hiccups started not long after he took 16 mg of Zofran while we were grocery shopping - after his delightful nurse Susan called to tell him to take them immediately. She'd meant to give it to him before we left the hospital.

Hiccups are such a petty annoyance, but try having them in the middle of the night. It's impossible to sleep through them!

I'm feeling better right now mostly because Joe was able to eat some dinner. A very exciting dinner: tiny servings of spaghetti with salt, cheese and olive oil. So happy he ate, and that -- for now -- the hiccups are gone!


ThePrices said...

Ariane, I have been soooo out of the loop, obviously. I dont know how I didn't know about this. I'm so sorry. I'm sending you guys both so much love & good/healthy wishes!!!

Please let me know if there's anything I can do! I know he's at Kaiser, but I'm friends with the woman who runs the Marin branch of the Sutter Cancer Research project. So she knows a lot about cancer, & knows everyone local. She was very helpful when Ben's grandma had mouth cancer surgery.

Anyway, please let me know if you need help of any kind. Much love to you now & always.

Carol Sexton said...

Ariane, my daughter, Ariana Sexton, just sent me the link to your blog. You may know that her dad died last year following 3 long years of prostate cancer that followed 3 long years of testicular cancer treatment.

You are the first person who talks about hiccups and chemo. They were devastating for us during chemo for testicular cancer. We tried everything to no avail.

Your blog is lovely, honest, true. I am enjoying it a lot. My husband wrote a blog his last 3 years, and it is dear to our family.

Thanks so much for writing from the other perspective.

Carol Sexton