Background: Omeprazole is effective in the treatment of reflux oesophagitis, and it is important to determine the lower dose limit with still appropriate clinical efficacy.
Methods: Patients with endoscopic oesophagitis grade 1-4 (N = 220) were randomized to double-blind treatment with 20 mg or 40 mg omeprazole daily for 4-8 weeks. Those healed after this initial treatment phase were re-randomized to double-blind treatment with 20 mg omeprazole daily (n = 67), 10 mg omeprazole daily (n = 68), or placebo (n = 33) for 6 months. Remission was defined as the absence of any endoscopic sign of oesophagitis.
Results: Healing rates were increased with 40 mg omeprazole, the therapeutic gain compared with the 20-mg dose being 15% after 4 and 8 weeks. The proportion of patients in remission after 6 months was 59% with 20 mg omeprazole, 35% with 10 mg omeprazole, and 0% with placebo.
Conclusion: Maintenance treatment with 10 mg omeprazole can prevent recurrence of oesophagitis in about one-third of patients with all grades of oesophagitis, and 20 mg omeprazole in about twice as many.