A previous uncontrolled study suggested that theophylline may be useful for the treatment of esophageal chest pain.
Dr Satish Rao and colleagues from Iowa noted that the treatment of esophageal chest pain is unsatisfactory, and that there is no approved therapy.
The research team investigated the effects of theophylline on esophageal sensorimotor function and chest pain.
|Overall symptoms improved in 58% on theophylline|
|The American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The team assessed the double-blind study, sensory and biomechanical properties of the oesophagus.
The research team used impedance planimetry in 16 patients with esophageal hypersensitivity, after intravenous theophylline or placebo.
In a second, randomized 4-week crossover study, oral theophylline and placebo were administered to 24 patients with esophageal hypersensitivity.
Frequency, intensity, and duration of chest pain episodes were evaluated.
The researchers found that after IV theophylline, chest pain thresholds, and esophageal cross-sectional area increased.
The team noted that the esophageal wall became more distensible compared with placebo.
The team observed after oral theophylline, the number of painful days and chest pain episodes, pain duration, and its severity decreased.
Overall symptoms improved in 58% on theophylline, and 6% on placebo.
The researchers noted no order effect.
Dr Rao's team concluded, "Theophylline relaxed the esophageal wall, decreased hypersensitivity, and improved chest pain."
"Theophylline is effective in the treatment of functional chest pain."