Research in the field of ureteral physiology and pharmacology has traditionally been directed toward relaxation of ureteral spasm as a mechanism of analgesia during painful ureteral obstruction, most often stone-induced episodes. However, interest in this field has expanded greatly in recent years with the expanded use of alpha-blocker therapy for inducing stone passage, a usage now termed "medical expulsive therapy". While most clinical reports involving expulsive therapy have focused on alpha receptor or calcium channel blockade, there are diverse studies investigating pharmacological ureteral relaxation with novel agents including cyclooxygenase inhibitors, small molecule beta receptor agonists, neurokinin antagonists, and phosphodiesterase inhibitors. In addition, cutting edge molecular biology research is revealing promising potential therapeutic targets aimed at specific molecular changes that occur during the acute obstruction that accompanies stone disease. The purpose of this report is to review the use of pharmacological agents as ureteral smooth muscle relaxants clinically, and to look into the future of expulsive therapy by reviewing the available literature of ureteral physiology and pharmacology research.