Pill esophagitis

J Clin Gastroenterol. 1999 Jun;28(4):298-305. doi: 10.1097/00004836-199906000-00004.


Nine hundred seventy-nine cases of pill esophagitis due to nearly 100 different medications are reviewed. Pill-induced injuries occur when caustic medicinal pills dissolve in the esophagus rather than passing rapidly into the stomach as intended. Most patients suffer only self-limited pain, but esophageal hemorrhage, stricture, and perforation may occur, and fatal injuries have been reported. The incidence of this iatrogenic injury can be reduced but not eliminated by emphasizing the importance of taking pills while upright and with plenty of fluids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Capsules / adverse effects*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Esophagitis / chemically induced*
  • Esophagitis / epidemiology*
  • Esophagitis / prevention & control
  • Esophagus / drug effects
  • Esophagus / injuries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tablets / adverse effects*


  • Capsules
  • Tablets