The effect of intravenous erythromycin on esophageal motility in healthy subjects

Am J Surg. 1996 Mar;171(3):316-9. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9610(97)89633-X.


Background: It has been confirmed that erythromycin has gastrokinetic properties of enhancing gastric emptying both in health and disease. The objective of the present study was to investigate any possible effect of erythromycin on esophageal motility.

Methods: In 14 healthy subjects, standard esophageal manometry was performed before and after the intravenous administration of 200 mg of erythromycin. The calculated manometric parameters of esophageal motility were the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure; the amplitude and duration of peristalsis at 5, 10, and 15 cm proximal to the LES; and the velocity and strength of peristalsis at 5 cm proximal to the LES.

Results: Erythromycin significantly increased the LES pressure (P<0.001), and the amplitude (P=0.002), duration (P=0.003), strength (P=0.014) and velocity (P=0.008) of peristalsis at 5 cm proximal to LES. Erythromycin also increased the amplitude of peristalsis at 10 cm proximal to the LES (P=0.035).

Conclusion: Erythromycin affects the motility of the distal esophagus.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Erythromycin / administration & dosage
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology*
  • Esophagogastric Junction / drug effects
  • Esophagogastric Junction / physiology
  • Esophagus / drug effects*
  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Peristalsis / drug effects
  • Pressure
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Erythromycin