Public Release: 

New relief for unexplained chest pain

Recent study finds that new drug relaxes esophagus, reduces pain

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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."

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This study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

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 satish-rao@uiowa.edu.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology meets the day-to-day demands of clinical practice. Aimed at practicing clinicians, the journal's articles deal directly with the disorders seen most often in patients. The journal brings a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach to the study of gastroenterology, including articles reporting on current observations, research results, methods of treatment, drugs, epidemiology, and other topics relevant to clinical gastroenterology. For more information, please visit www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/ajg.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany, and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.'s Scientific, Technical, and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell's mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com or www.blackwell-synergy.com.

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