: H2-receptor antagonists are widely used in patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and are frequently continued when symptoms persist. Aim: To compare the efficacy of omeprazole 20 mg once daily with that of ranitidine 150 mg twice daily in relieving GERD symptoms, in patients who remained symptomatic following a 6-week course of ranitidine therapy.
: Patients with heartburn on at least 4 days/week but who did not have endoscopy to assess oesophageal mucosa could participate. This two-phase, prospective trial included a 6-week open-label phase (phase I), followed by an 8-week double-blind phase (phase II). Patients still symptomatic following treatment with ranitidine 150 mg twice daily (phase I) were randomized to double-blind treatment (phase II) with either omeprazole 20 mg once daily or ranitidine 150 mg twice daily. The primary efficacy variable was the proportion of patients with heartburn resolution during weeks 4 and 8 of phase II.
: Of the 533 patients with GERD who received ranitidine in phase I, 348 patients (65%) were still symptomatic. A total of 317 patients (59%) were randomized to double-blind treatment (phase II). At week 8, a significantly (P < 0.0004) greater proportion of omeprazole-treated patients (70%) experienced no more than mild heartburn compared with ranitidine-treated patients (49%). Complete resolution of heartburn also occurred in a significantly (P < 0.00001) greater proportion of omeprazole-treated patients (46% vs. 16% of the ranitidine group at week 8).
: After 6 weeks of ranitidine treatment, the majority of patients with GERD were still experiencing moderate to severe heartburn. Omeprazole was significantly more effective than ranitidine in resolving heartburn in this group of patients.