Opioid-Induced Esophageal Dysfunction (OIED) in Patients on Chronic Opioids

Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jul;110(7):979-84. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2015.154. Epub 2015 Jun 2.


Objectives: Bowel dysfunction has been recognized as a predominant side effect of opioid use. Even though the effects of opioids on the stomach and small and large intestines have been well studied, there are limited data on opioid effects on esophageal function. The aim of this study was to compare esophageal pressure topography (EPT) of patients taking opioids at the time of the EPT (≤24 h) with chronic opioid users who were studied off opioid medications for at least 24 h using the Chicago classification v3.0.

Methods: A retrospective review identified 121 chronic opioid users who completed EPT between March 2010 and August 2012. Demographic and manometric data were compared between the two groups using general linear models or χ(2).

Results: Of the 121 chronic opioid users, 66 were studied on opioid medications (≤24 h) and 55 were studied off opioid medications for at least 24 h. Esophagogastric junction (EGJ) outflow obstruction was significantly more prevalent in patients using opioids within 24 h compared with those who did not (27% vs. 7%, P=0.004). Mean 4 s integrated relaxation pressure was also significantly higher in patients studied on opioids (10.71 vs. 6.6 mm Hg, P=0.025). Resting lower esophageal sphincter pressures tended to be higher on opioids (31.61 vs. 26.98 mm Hg, P=0.25). Distal latency was significantly lower in patients studied on opioids (6.15 vs. 6.74 s, P=0.044).

Conclusions: Opioid use within 24 h of EPT is associated with more frequent EGJ outflow obstruction and spastic peristalsis compared with when opioid use is stopped for at least 24 h before the study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Esophageal Achalasia / chemically induced
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders / physiopathology
  • Esophagogastric Junction / drug effects*
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Manometry*
  • Middle Aged
  • Peristalsis / drug effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Analgesics, Opioid