If achalasia is diagnosed early, your NYU Langone doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter. Medication relaxes the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, enabling you to swallow more easily.
Although medication can provide relief, some people may notice that it becomes less effective over time. Your doctor may prescribe several types of medication until you find one that works for you.
Your doctor may recommend calcium channel blockers, which are often prescribed to lower blood pressure because they relax blood vessels. Nitrates, which are usually given for chest pain because they dilate, or open, heart arteries, may be another option. For people with achalasia, these medications relax the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing food and liquid to pass more easily into the stomach.
Calcium channel blockers and nitrates are taken by mouth 10 to 30 minutes before a meal. They are available in tablets that can be absorbed under the tongue.