Bedtime H2 blockers improve nocturnal gastric acid control in GERD patients on proton pump inhibitors

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2001 Sep;15(9):1351-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2001.01050.x.


Aim: Proton pump inhibitors taken twice daily before meals (proton pump inhibitor b.d. AC) effectively controls daytime gastric pH; however, nocturnal gastric acid breakthrough (NAB) occurs in more than 75% of patients. Adding an H2-blocker at bedtime decreases NAB in normal subjects. The efficacy of this regimen has not been evaluated in GERD patients. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of proton pump inhibitor b.d., both with and without bedtime H2-blocker on intragastric pH and the occurrence of NAB in GERD patients.

Methods: Prolonged ambulatory pH studies in GERD patients were reviewed. Group A: 60 patients (mean age 53 years, male 30) taking either omeprazole 20 mg or lansoprazole 30 mg b.d. Group B: 45 patients (mean age 49 years, male 23) on proton pump inhibitor b.d. (omeprazole 20 mg or lansoprazole 30 mg) plus an H2-blocker at bedtime (ranitidine 300 mg, famotidine 40 mg or nizatidine 300 mg). Eleven patients were evaluated during treatment with both regimens (group C). The percentage time of nocturnal and daytime intragastric pH > 4 and per cent of patients with gastric NAB were analysed. In the patients with NAB, its duration and associated oesophageal acid exposure also were analysed.

Results: Median percentage time intragastric pH > 4 overnight was 51% in group A, compared to 96% in group B (P < 0.0001). Median percentage daytime pH > 4 was 73% in group A and 79.8% in group B (P=0.14). Median percentage time intragastric pH >p 4 overnight increased from 54.6% without H2RA to 96.5% after adding bedtime H2RA (P=0.0013) in group C patients. NAB occurred in 82% patients in group A and 40% in group B (P < 0.0001). The mean duration of oesophageal acid exposure during NAB was significantly shorter in group B (18 +/- 6 min) than in group A (42 +/- 9 min, P=0.04).

Summary: Adding a bedtime H2-blocker to the treatment enhanced nocturnal gastric pH control and decreased NAB compared to the proton pump inhibitor b.d. regimen. A bedtime H2-blocker also decreased oesophageal acid exposure during NAB.

Conclusion: Adding a bedtime H2-blocker to a proton pump inhibitor b.d. regimen should be considered in patients who require continued nocturnal gastric acid control whilst taking proton pump inhibitor b.d.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / drug therapy*
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors