The effects of nebulized albuterol on esophageal function in asthmatic patients

Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Oct;53(10):2627-33. doi: 10.1007/s10620-007-0188-4. Epub 2008 Feb 13.


Purpose: Albuterol reduces lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure in normal volunteers, although the effects of albuterol on esophageal function in asthmatic patients are not known. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of nebulized albuterol on lower esophageal function in asthmatic patients. Symptoms and a methacholine challenge test were used to identify asthmatic patients who were then enrolled in a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, crossover trial. Changes in esophageal function in response to nebulized albuterol or placebo were evaluated over two sessions spaced 1 week apart.

Results: Albuterol induced a dose-dependent drop in lower esophageal sphincter basal pressure with a threshold dose as low as 2.5 mg. Albuterol did not affect the amplitude of esophageal contractions.

Conclusions: Nebulized albuterol induces a dose-dependent reduction in LES basal pressure in asthmatic patients. These effects raise the possibility that gastroesophageal reflux may occur after bronchodilator therapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuterol / adverse effects
  • Albuterol / pharmacology*
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects
  • Bronchodilator Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Lower / drug effects*
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Lower / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / chemically induced
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Pressure
  • Prospective Studies


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Albuterol