The effect of motilin agonist ABT-229 on gastro-oesophageal reflux, oesophageal motility and lower oesophageal sphincter characteristics in GERD patients


van Herwaarden Dr University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail:



ABT-229, a motilin agonist without antibacterial activity, has been shown to enhance both lower oesophageal sphincter pressure in cats and gastric emptying in humans.


To investigate the effect of oral treatment with ABT-229 10 mg b.d., ABT-229 5 mg b.d. and cisapride 10 mg q.d.s. on gastro-oesophageal reflux, lower oesophageal sphincter pressure, transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations and symptoms in GERD patients.


Twenty-four GERD patients completed the study. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-period incomplete crossover design was used with three dosing periods of 7 days. All patients received ABT-229 10 mg b.d. and placebo during two of the three periods. In the remaining period 12 patients were given ABT-229 5 mg b.d. and 12 received cisapride 10 mg q.d.s. Ambulatory 24 h recordings of oesophageal pH and pharyngeal, oesophageal, lower oesophageal sphincter and gastric pressures were performed on day 7 using an assembly incorporating a Dent sleeve connected to a portable water-perfused manometric system.


Oesophageal acid exposure was not affected by ABT-229 or cisapride, but the incidence of reflux episodes was reduced by cisapride. None of the drugs affected oesophageal motility, lower oesophageal sphincter pressure or the incidence of transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations. Both ABT-229 10 mg b.d. and cisapride reduced the severity of daytime heartburn.


The value of ABT-229 in the treatment of GERD appears to be limited.