The effects of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in the treatment of caustic alkaline injury to the esophagus is examined. Caustic esophageal burns were produced in rats by irrigation with NaOH. Stricture formation was less frequent in animals concurrently treated with either steroids (48%) or NAC (48%) than in control animals that received only the alkaline injury (74%). In addition, the severity of stenosis was less in drug-treated rats. Thirty percent of strictures in control animals were severe (3+) compared to 6% in the NAC group and 7% in the steroid group. Both NAC and steroids would seem to ameliorate the tissue reaction to chemical injury as well as temper the degree of stenosis formation. Possibility of synergistic effects warrants future investigation.
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