Objectives: Upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are common in patients using non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including selective cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors and may be acid related. We therefore assessed esomeprazole treatment for upper GI symptoms in these patients.
Methods: A total of 794 and 848 continuous NSAID users, free of gastroduodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and Helicobacter pylori, were enrolled into two identical, multinational, multicenter double-blind studies (NASA1, SPACE1). Moreover, 608 and 556 patients were randomized to receive 4 wk esomeprazole 20 mg, or 40 mg, or placebo once daily. The primary variable was the patient-reported change in the upper GI symptom (pain, discomfort, or burning in the upper abdomen) score on a 7-graded severity scale (0-6) from the 7 days prior to treatment to the last 7 days in the study.
Results: Esomeprazole was associated with highly significant symptom improvement compared to placebo. Symptom improvements were 2.30 mean [SD 1.63] on esomeprazole 20 mg and 2.03 [1.56] on esomeprazole 40 mg versus 1.64 [1.57] on placebo in NASA1 and 2.17 [1.34] and 2.12 [1.48]versus 1.56 [1.26], respectively, in SPACE1 (all placebo comparisons at least p < 0.001). Esomeprazole-improved symptoms in patients taking selective COX-2 inhibitors, with changes of 2.21 [1.46] and 1.92 [1.38]versus 1.64 [1.46] in NASA1 and 2.20 [1.26] and 2.24 [1.62]versus 1.58 [1.37] in SPACE1 (all placebo comparisons at least p < 0.05), as well as those on non-selective NSAIDs. Esomeprazole was well tolerated and associated with significant improvements in HRQL.
Conclusion: Esomeprazole 20 mg and 40 mg improve upper GI symptoms associated with continuous, daily NSAID therapy, including selective COX-2 inhibitors.