Background: There is documentation of the long-term use of omeprazole 10 mg o.d. in patients with reflux oesophagitis but not in the large number of gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients without oesophagitis. There is also a paucity of data on the long-term use of cimetidine in GERD patients.
Methods: One hundred and fifty-six patients (100 male) who previously had symptomatic non-ulcerative oesophagitis (81%) or symptoms without oesophagitis (19%), were recruited. All patients were in symptomatic remission following 4 weeks of omeprazole 20 mg o.d. or cimetidine 400 mg q.d.s. and, if required, a further 4 weeks of omeprazole 20 mg o.d. Patients were randomized to receive, double-blind, either omeprazole 10 mg o.m. (n = 77) or cimetidine 800 mg nocte (n = 79) for 24 weeks.
Results: A greater proportion of patients receiving omeprazole, compared with cimetidine, were in symptomatic remission after 12 (69 vs. 27%) and 24 weeks (60 vs. 24%) (each P < 0.0001). The median time to symptomatic relapse was longer for patients receiving omeprazole (169 vs. 15 days) (P = 0.0001). Of patients leaving the study in symptomatic remission, a greater proportion receiving omeprazole, compared with cimetidine, was free of oesophagitis (84 vs. 53%) (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Omeprazole 10 mg o.m. is more effective than cimetidine 800 mg nocte in the prevention of recurrence of GERD-associated heartburn and the occurrence of underlying oesophagitis.