Aim : To compare the efficacy of esomeprazole, 20 mg once daily, vs. lansoprazole, 15 mg once daily, for the maintenance treatment of patients with healed reflux oesophagitis.

Methods : During the initial open healing phase, 1391 patients with endoscopically verified reflux oesophagitis and a history of heartburn, with or without acid regurgitation, received esomeprazole 40 mg for 4–8 weeks. Patients who were healed (identified by endoscopy at 4 or 8 weeks) and symptom free were then randomized to receive 6 months of treatment with esomeprazole, 20 mg once daily, or lansoprazole, 15 mg once daily.

Results : Esomeprazole, 20 mg once daily, maintained a significantly higher proportion of patients in remission than lansoprazole, 15 mg once daily, over 6 months [83% (95% CI, 80–86%) of esomeprazole recipients compared with 74% (95% CI, 70–78%) of lansoprazole recipients; P < 0.0001; life table estimates]. When data were analysed according to baseline Los Angeles grade classification, esomeprazole, 20 mg once daily, achieved consistently higher remission rates across all grades of disease severity, whereas the efficacy of lansoprazole decreased to a greater extent with increasing severity of reflux oesophagitis.

Conclusion : Esomeprazole, 20 mg once daily, is more effective than lansoprazole, 15 mg once daily, in maintaining remission in patients with healed reflux oesophagitis.