Background: Although most patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) benefit from proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy, some experience only partial symptom relief.
Aim: To determine the prevalence of partial heartburn response to PPIs and its impact on health-related quality of life.
Methods: Four randomised, double-blind studies in adults with reflux disease compared esomeprazole 40 mg/day or 20 mg/day with omeprazole 20 mg/day, or esomeprazole 40 mg/day with pantoprazole 40 mg/day. Patients with heartburn on ≥4 days during the 1-week recall period at baseline were included. Partial response was defined as heartburn on ≥3 days during the last treatment week and reduced heartburn frequency after 4 weeks of treatment compared with baseline.
Results: The analysis included 2645 patients with non-erosive reflux disease (mean age: 48.8 years; 54.4% women) and 3151 patients with reflux oesophagitis (mean age: 50.6 years; 37.1% women). At baseline, most patients reported heartburn on 5-7 days (non-erosive reflux disease: 82.2%; reflux oesophagitis: 86.8%). Partial heartburn response occurred in 19.9% of patients with non-erosive reflux disease and 14.0% with reflux oesophagitis. Defining partial response as heartburn on ≥2 days increased these rates to 26.2% and 19.3%, respectively; defining partial response as heartburn of moderate or severe intensity on ≥3 days decreased these rates to 6.4% and 5.3%, respectively. Nonresponse to PPIs was rare (non-erosive reflux disease: 2.4%; reflux oesophagitis: 1.4%).
Conclusion: Using our conservative definition, partial heartburn response to proton pump inhibitor therapy occurred in 14-20% of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease patients, more commonly in non-erosive reflux disease than in reflux oesophagitis.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.