The retardation of gastric emptying caused by intraduodenal lipid is associated with suppression of antral contractions and stimulation of localized pyloric contractions. Similar patterns of motility have been described in patients with gastroparesis. The effect of erythromycin on the antropyloroduodenal motor responses to intraduodenal lipid was investigated. In 17 volunteers an intraduodenal lipid infusion (10% Intralipid) was given at 1 mL/min for 50 minutes. Either erythromycin (3 mg/kg) or saline was administered IV for 15 minutes, beginning 20 minutes after the start of the intraduodenal lipid infusion. Antral, pyloric, and duodenal motility were measured with a sleeve/sidehole manometric assembly. Intraduodenal lipid stimulated localized pyloric contractions. Erythromycin suppressed localized phasic (P less than 0.003) and tonic (P less than 0.002) pyloric pressure waves and stimulated antral (P less than 0.003) and duodenal pressure waves (P less than 0.02). After erythromycin antral pressure waves were usually of high amplitude (greater than 50 mm Hg) and often associated with duodenal pressure waves. It was concluded that erythromycin overcomes the effects of intraduodenal lipid on antral, pyloric, and duodenal motility. These effects probably contribute to the gastrokinetic properties of erythromycin.