Background : Omeprazole controls acid but not non-acid reflux. The GABA B agonist baclofen decreases acid reflux through the inhibition of transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs) and should similarly decrease non-acid reflux. Using combined multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH (MII/pH), we compared acid and non-acid reflux after placebo and baclofen.

Methods : Nine healthy volunteers and nine heartburn patients underwent two 2-h studies of combined MII/pH in right lateral decubitus after a refluxogenic meal in random order: on placebo and after baclofen 40 mg p.o. Tracings were analysed for acid and non-acid reflux episodes, re-reflux and symptoms in the heartburn patients.

Results : In normal subjects baclofen significantly reduced the median number of episodes of acid (7 vs. 1, P = 0.02), non-acid (2 vs. 0, P = 0.005), and all reflux combined (10 vs. 2, P = 0.006); re-reflux was not reduced (0 vs. 0, P = N.S.). In heartburn patients, baclofen significantly decreased the median number of episodes of acid (15 vs. 6, P = 0.004), non-acid (4 vs. 2, P = 0.003), re-reflux (2 vs. 0, P = 0.02), and all reflux combined (23 vs. 8, P = 0.004); it also reduced the median number of acid-related (9 vs. 1, P = 0.008) and non-acid-related (1 vs. 0, P = 0.04) symptoms.

Conclusions : Baclofen reduces post-prandial acid and non-acid reflux and their associated symptoms. GABA B agonists may have a role in treating GERD.