This sonographic study was aimed at examining the effect of sedation with promethazine (1.5 mg x kg(-1)), on gastroduodenal function in neonatal piglets. On 3 consecutive days, observations of gastroduodenal motility during the first 3 postprandial h were made in 13 animals (3 to 5 days old; 7 sleeping naturally and 6 sedated 2 h prior to feeding). Promethazine significantly reduced both the closures per min of the terminal part of the pyloric antrum and pyloric canal and the percentage of gastric contractions that were followed by closure of the terminal pyloric antrum and canal. Such actions of promethazine on motility of the gastroduodenal junction could lead to a delay in gastric emptying of ingesta with a consequent increased risk of reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. Because gastroesophageal reflux has been associated with the pathogenesis of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), care should be taken if promethazine is to be used as a sedative in neonates.