Background : Patients with chronic heartburn but with no endoscopic evidence of erosive oesophagitis require gastric acid suppression to relieve symptoms.
Aim : To assess the efficacy and safety of esomeprazole in patients with frequent heartburn for ≥ 6 months and no evidence of erosive oesophagitis on endoscopy.
Methods : Two randomized, double-blind, 4-week, multi-centre trials with identical methodology compared once-daily esomeprazole, 40 mg (n = 241) or 20 mg (n = 234), with placebo (n = 242) for the rigorous end-point of complete resolution of heartburn. Secondary end-points included the percentage of heartburn-free days and the time to first and sustained resolution of heartburn.
Results : Patients treated with either dose of esomeprazole were two to three times more likely to achieve complete resolution of heartburn than patients treated with placebo (P < 0.001). The percentage of heartburn-free days was significantly higher with esomeprazole 40 mg (63%, 66%) or 20 mg (63%, 68%) than with placebo (46%, 36%; P ≤ 0.001) in each of the two studies. Esomeprazole was associated with a significantly shorter mean time to first (6–7 days) and sustained (12–17 days) resolution of heartburn compared with placebo (first, 10–12 days; sustained, 21–22 days; P ≤ 0.008). The spectrum and frequency of adverse events with esomeprazole were similar to those with placebo.
Conclusions : Esomeprazole, at daily doses of 40 mg or 20 mg, is effective and safe for the treatment of chronic heartburn in patients without erosive oesophagitis.