Many drugs can delay gastric emptying and may thereby impair the absorption of other drugs. Desmethylimipramine (DMI) is an antidepressant with anticholinergic properties which might be expected to delay the rate of gastric emptying. In five out of six subjects, DMI significantly delayed both the absorption of alcohol (assessed by a breathalyser) and of paracetamol, and there was a correlation between the two. The breathalyser can therefore be used to predict the extent to which one may impair the absorption of another drug by its effect on gastrointestinal motility.
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