Background: As many as 50% of patients with reflux symptoms have no endoscopic evidence of oesophagitis. This multicentre study was designed to assess symptom relief after omeprazole 20 mg once daily in patients with symptoms typical of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease but without endoscopic evidence of oesophagitis.
Methods: Patients (n = 209) were randomized in a double-blind study to receive either omeprazole 20 mg once daily (n = 98) or placebo (n = 111) for 4 weeks. Symptoms were assessed at clinic visits and using daily diary cards, with patient-completed questionnaires providing additional data on symptoms and on psychological disturbance.
Results: On completion, symptom relief favoured omeprazole: 57% of patients on omeprazole were free of heartburn (vs. 19% on placebo), 75% were free of regurgitation (47%) and 43% were completely asymptomatic (14%), each with P < 0.0001. Fewer patients in the omeprazole group required alginate/antacid relief medication (P < 0.05). Symptom relief (time to first heartburn-free day) was more rapid with omeprazole (2 vs. 5 days on placebo; P < 0.01). A greater reduction in anxiety occurred in the omeprazole group (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Omeprazole 20 mg once daily is effective in providing relief of the symptoms typical of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in patients with essentially normal oesophageal mucosa.