Nifedipine, a calcium-channel blocker, was shown to decrease lower oesophageal sphincter pressure and increase oesophageal acid exposure time, while atenolol, a b1 blocker, was shown to inhibit relaxation of the smooth muscle of the oesophagus. However, the influence of these anti-hypertensive drugs on the segment of oesophageal body contraction using high-resolution manometry was not fully investigated.
A research team from Japan observed oesophageal 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 oesophageal sphincter (LES) pressure and the amplitude of peristaltic contractions, in the middle and lower segments of the oesophageal body. On the other hand, nifedipine decreased LES pressure and the amplitude of peristaltic contractions in the oesophageal 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-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Atenolol-induced alterations of oesophageal motor activity might prevent the development of GERD.