Patients with recently healed duodenal ulcers diagnosed by endoscopy were randomly allocated to receive 10 g apple pectin USP powder twice daily, 150 mg ranitidine at night, or one tablet matching ranitidine placebo at night for 6 months. Repeat endoscopy was performed at 6 months or if symptoms recurred. Eighty-three patients completed the study. Recurrences occurred in 23 of 27 (85%) patients taking pectin, 6 of 28 (21%) patients taking ranitidine, and 20 of 28 (71%) patients taking placebo. (Pectin versus placebo, NS; ranitidine versus pectin, p less than 0.00001; ranitidine versus placebo, p less than 0.0005). The average amount of pectin taken was 12.7 g/day in patients who relapsed and 12.4 g/day in those who did not. At the doses taken, therefore, dietary supplementation with pectin did not reduce the incidence of duodenal ulcer relapse.