Effect of azithromycin on small bowel motility in patients with gastrointestinal dysmotility

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2012 Apr;47(4):422-7. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2012.654402. Epub 2012 Feb 27.


Objective: To investigate the effect of azithromycin (AZI) on small bowel activity in patients with gastrointestinal dysmotility (GID).

Material and methods: Manometric data on a consecutive series of 21 patients was reviewed. Only those patients with gastroparesis and small bowel dysmotility as defined by antroduodenal manometric criteria were included. Pressure profiles were recorded in three stages: baseline period, fed state and postprandial after administration of erythromycin (ERY) and AZI. The measured parameters included the number and characteristics of activity fronts and migrating motor complexes (MMCs) including duration, amplitude and frequency of contractions. The data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance for comparison of each medication.

Results: AZI induced more MMCs in the duodenum with origin of activity fronts in the antrum than did ERY (18 patients with AZI, 10 patients with ERY). No significant difference between AZI and ERY was seen with respect to the amplitude of MMCs or number of cycles per minute. The average duration of activity fronts was longer with AZI compared with ERY (AZI mean 18.5 min, ERY mean 9.7 min, p < 0.02).

Conclusions: AZI induces activity fronts in the antrum followed by duodenal contractions more frequently than ERY in patients with GID. AZI potentially promises to be a prokinetic for treatment of small bowel dysmotility.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Azithromycin / administration & dosage
  • Azithromycin / therapeutic use*
  • Erythromycin / administration & dosage
  • Erythromycin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Gastroparesis / drug therapy*
  • Gastroparesis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / physiology*
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Myoelectric Complex, Migrating / drug effects
  • Octreotide / administration & dosage
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Erythromycin
  • Azithromycin
  • Octreotide