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Chronic daily opioid exposure is associated with dysphagia, esophageal outflow obstruction, and disordered peristalsis. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2019 07;31(7):e13601



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85064564270   11 Citations


BACKGROUND: Opioid receptors are present in the esophagus, and chronic opioid therapy may be associated with esophageal dysfunction. Given the current opioid epidemic in the United States, the potential contribution of opioids to esophageal dysmotility is important from both public health and patient care perspectives. Therefore our aim is to investigate the potential contribution of opioids to dysphagia and the prevalence of major motor disorders in patients undergoing manometric evaluation.

METHODS: The anonymized electronic medical records of patients linked to their de-identified high-resolution manometry (HRM) studies were reviewed. The patients were grouped based on their opioid exposure history at the time of HRM: opioid-naïve and chronic daily users. The oral morphine milligram equivalent daily dose (MMED) of opioids was computed. KEY RESULTS: 10% of patients referred for esophageal HRM were taking opioid analgesics on a chronic daily basis, and they had a significantly higher prevalence of dysphagia than their opioid-naïve counterparts. The chronic daily opioid users displayed a significantly higher prevalence of achalasia type 3 (ACH3) and esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction (EGJOO) motility phenotypes. The MMED of opioids was a significant predictor of esophageal pressure metrics and motility diagnoses (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Chronic daily opioid intake is associated with impaired deglutitive LES relaxation and disorganized peristaltic sequence. While a minority of patients on chronic daily opioid therapy present with major esophageal motor disorders, they comprise nearly half of ACH3 and a third of EGJOO motility phenotypes.

Author List

Babaei A, Szabo A, Shad S, Massey BT


Benson T. Massey MD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Becky Massey MD Associate Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Aniko Szabo PhD Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Analgesics, Opioid
Deglutition Disorders
Esophageal Motility Disorders
Esophagogastric Junction
Middle Aged
Opioid-Related Disorders
Retrospective Studies
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a