Nifedipine, a calcium-channel blocker, was shown to decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure and increase esophageal acid exposure time, while atenolol, a b1 blocker, was shown to inhibit relaxation of the smooth muscle of the esophagus. However, the influence of these anti-hypertensive drugs on the segment of esophageal body contraction using high-resolution manometry was not fully investigated.
A research team from Japan observed esophageal body contraction using high-resolution manometry with 36 intraruminal transducers. Their study was published on February 28, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
Their research demonstrated that atenolol increased lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure and the amplitude of peristaltic contractions, in the middle and lower segments of the esophageal body. On the other hand, nifedipine decreased LES pressure and the amplitude of peristaltic contractions in the esophageal body.
Their results suggested that a regular administration of nifedipine for treatment of hypertension might be a risk factor for the future occurrence of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Atenolol-induced alterations of esophageal motor activity might prevent the development of GERD.
Source: World Journal of Gastroenterology