Rationale: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common among patients with asthma; however, studies investigating the effect of proton pump inhibitors on asthma outcomes report conflicting results.
Objectives: To investigate the effect of esomeprazole 40 mg once or twice daily on asthma outcomes in patients with concomitant symptoms of GERD.
Methods: This 26-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (NCT00317044) included adult patients (18-70 yr) with moderate-to-severe asthma and symptomatic GERD. The change in morning peak expiratory flow (primary variable), evening peak expiratory flow, FEV(1), asthma symptoms, Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire, Reflux Disease Questionnaire, and tolerability were assessed.
Measurements and main results: A total of 961 patients were randomized and 828 completed the study. Relative to baseline, improvement in morning peak expiratory flow was observed for both esomeprazole 40 mg once daily (+3.5 L/min; 95% CI, -3.2 to 10.2) and 40 mg twice daily (+5.5 L/min; 95% CI, -1.2 to 12.2), although no statistically significant between-treatment differences were apparent. At treatment end, both doses of esomeprazole significantly improved FEV(1) versus placebo (+0.09 L and +0.12 L; P = 0.0039 and P < 0.0001, respectively). However, only esomeprazole 40 mg twice daily demonstrated a significant improvement when FEV(1) was calculated over the entire 26-week period (+0.07 L; P = 0.0042). Significant improvements in Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire total score were demonstrated for both esomeprazole doses compared with placebo (+0.28 and +0.41; P = 0.0006 and P < 0.0001, respectively).
Conclusions: Esomeprazole may improve pulmonary function and asthma-related quality of life. However, the improvements were minor and of small clinical significance.