The gastric emptying of solids was evaluated with radionuclide techniques in 16 patients with reflux esophagitis, demonstrated by two of the following methods: endoscopy, pathology, and/or pH measurement. The percentage of radionuclide remaining within the stomach was 80.8 +/- 17% after 45 minutes, 63.3 +/- 10% after 75 minutes, and 48.8 +/- 19% after 105 minutes, with a half time (T1/2) of gastric emptying of 103.4 +/- 6 minutes. These results showed significant differences in T1/2 with those from a control group of healthy individuals, the gastric emptying being slower in patients with esophagitis (103.4 min vs 85.3 min; p less than 0.01). Subsequently, a double blind study to assess the effect of metoclopramide and cinitapride on gastric emptying in patients with reflux esophagitis was carried out. Cinitapride accelerated the gastric emptying of solids with statistically significant differences when compared with placebo (84 min vs 104 min, p less than 0.05). In this study, metoclopramide showed a tendency to accelerate gastric emptying, although it did not achieve a significant difference with placebo.