Iowa City, Iowa - May 09, 2007 - The discomfort caused by esophageal (non-cardiac) chest pain is often severe, driving many patients to emergency rooms and physicians' offices despite the fact that the ailment has no definable pathology. Although this pain may sometimes be the result of acid reflux disease, when this is absent most patients present hypersensitivity of the esophagus, and a recent study suggests a potential new way of managing this and other symptoms.
The study finds that theophylline, taken either intravenously or orally, appears to reduce esophageal chest pain by relaxing the esophageal wall and decreasing hypersensitivity. Lead author Satish S.C. Rao finds evidence that these beneficial effects may also be influenced by theophylline's actions on adenosine receptors, altering esophageal sensory thresholds at the same time as relaxing the muscles.
Rao notes that "following oral administration, symptomatic improvement was seen in nearly 60 percent of patients, and the drug was reasonably well tolerated," adding that "if a cardiac, pulmonary, musculoskeletal or esophageal source such as acid reflux disease can be excluded, our findings suggest that a trial of theophylline may be effective in relieving chest pain."
This study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact email@example.com.
To speak with Joel Richter and Nicholas J. Talley, editors-in-chief of AJG, about this article and topic, attend Digestive Disease Week from May 19- May 24 in Washington, D.C.
Satish S.C. Rao, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP, FACG is a professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and has published more than fifteen papers in the field of gastroenterology in the last decade. He can be reached for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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