Background: Cisapride is a substituted piperidinyl benzamide indicated for the symptomatic treatment of patients with nocturnal heartburn due to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The currently recommended dosing regimen for cisapride is 10 mg q.d.s., but the elimination half-life of 8-10 h supports b.d. dosing with 20 mg.
Methods: This multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was undertaken to determine the efficacy and safety of cisapride 20 mg b.d. dosing in reducing or preventing heartburn and other meal-related symptoms after challenge with a provocative fatty meal. In phase 1 of the study, 137 patients with at least a 3-month history of symptoms suggestive of GERD and at least five episodes of GERD on 7-day diary were eligible to receive single-blind treatment with placebo for 7 (range +/- 3) days and then ingested a provocative meal. One hundred and twenty-two patients (45 men and 77 women, 22-65 years of age) who experienced heartburn during the 3 h after ingestion of the meal qualified for the double-blind phase of the study and were randomly assigned to either cisapride 20 mg or matching placebo b.d. for 7 (+/-3) days. At the end of this period, 118 patients again ate a fatty meal and were assessed for symptoms of GERD.
Results: Heartburn was prevented in a significantly higher percentage of cisapride-treated patients (40%; 24 out of 60) than placebo-treated patients (21%; 12 out of 58) after the repeat provocative meal at the end of the double-blind phase (P = 0.017). Cisapride was also significantly more effective in reducing the severity of postprandial heartburn, belching, and regurgitation (P < 0.05). Twice-daily dosing with cisapride 20 mg was well tolerated; the number of cisapride- and placebo-treated patients who experienced at least one adverse event was similar (31% and 22%, respectively). The most common adverse events were diarrhoea (cisapride, 18%; placebo, 0%) and rhinitis (cisapride, 2%; placebo, 5%).
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that cisapride 20 mg b.d. is effective in preventing or reducing symptoms of heartburn in patients who developed heartburn after ingesting a provocative fatty meal. Cisapride was also effective in reducing the severity of heartburn-related symptoms such as belching and regurgitation.