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Am J Gastroenterol. 1992 Apr;87(4):483-8.

Effect of alprazolam (Xanax) on esophageal motility and acid reflux.

Author information

1
Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that psychotropic drugs may help the symptoms associated with spastic esophageal motor disorders. However, the physiologic effects of central nervous system depression (a side effect of such therapy) on esophageal function is not known. Therefore, we studied the effect of alprazolam (Xanax), a popular new benzodiazepine anxiolytic, in 10 healthy volunteers, using a randomized, placebo-controlled design. Stationary esophageal motility, 24-h pH monitoring, and 24-h ambulatory motility monitoring was done while on placebo or one tablet (0.25 mg) of alprazolam taken three times a day. Alprazolam had no significant effect on lower esophageal sphincter pressure or motility in the esophagus. Upper esophageal sphincter pressure, however, was significantly decreased. What is more important, one-third of the healthy volunteers had abnormal amounts of nocturnal acid reflux during the alprazolam phase of the study. This effect was probably due to alprazolam-induced central nervous system depression interfering with normal nocturnal acid clearance mechanisms triggered by arousal from sleep.

PMID:
1553935
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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