Background: The pharmacologic profile of the new proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole has demonstrated advantages over omeprazole that suggest clinical benefits for patients with acid-related disease.
Methods: 1960 patients with endoscopy-confirmed reflux oesophagitis (RO) were randomized to once daily esomeprazole 40 mg (n=654) or 20 mg (n=656), or omeprazole 20 mg (n=650), the standard recommended dose for RO, for up to 8 weeks in a US, multicentre, double-blind trial. The primary efficacy variable was the proportion of patients healed at week 8. Secondary variables included healing and heartburn resolution at week 4, time to first resolution and sustained resolution of heartburn, and per cent of heartburn-free days and nights. Safety and tolerability were also evaluated.
Results: Significantly more patients were healed at week 8 with esomeprazole 40 mg (94.1%) and 20 mg (89.9%) vs. omeprazole 20 mg (86.9%), using cumulative life table estimates, ITT analysis (each P < 0.05). Esomeprazole 40 mg was also significantly more effective than omeprazole for healing at week 4 and for all secondary variables evaluating heartburn resolution. The most common adverse events in all treatment groups were headache, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Conclusion: Esomeprazole was more effective than omeprazole in healing and symptom resolution in GERD patients with reflux oesophagitis, and had a tolerability profile comparable to that of omeprazole.