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Summary

Background : Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease has a chronic course, and often requires long-term treatment. Proton pump inhibitors are the treatment of choice for both acute and maintenance treatment, but little is known from randomized controlled trials of their effects beyond 1 year.

Aim : To compare the efficacy and safety of two doses of rabeprazole with 20 mg omeprazole in the maintenance treatment of erosive gastro-oesophageal reflux disease over 5 years.

Methods : Two hundred and forty-three patients who had previously responded to acute treatment for erosive gastro-oesophageal reflux disease were prospectively randomized to receive 5 years of treatment with rabeprazole (10 or 20 mg daily) or omeprazole (20 mg daily). The primary outcome measure was endoscopically confirmed relapse of erosive gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.

Results : One hundred and twenty-three patients (51%) completed all 5 years of the study, with similar completion rates in the three groups. Relapses occurred in nine of 78 (11.5%), eight of 82 (9.8%) and 11 of 83 (13.3%) patients in the rabeprazole 20 mg, rabeprazole 10 mg and omeprazole 20 mg groups, respectively. Gastric biopsy showed no evidence of any harmful effects. All treatments were well tolerated.

Conclusions : Rabeprazole 10 mg, rabeprazole 20 mg and omeprazole 20 mg all had similar efficacy in the maintenance treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. All three were safe and well tolerated during 5 years of treatment.