Background: Pantoprazole is a new substituted benzimidazole which inhibits gastric H+,K+-ATPase.

Methods: In this double-blind, multicentre study, pantoprazole 40 mg once daily was compared with omeprazole 20 mg once daily in the treatment of grade II and III (Savary–Miller) reflux oesophagitis. Endoscopy was repeated after 4 weeks of treatment, and also after 8 weeks in patients unhealed at 4 weeks.

Results: The primary efficacy variable was ulcer healing; after 4 weeks, 81/103 (78.6%) patients in the pantoprazole group and 83/105 (79.0%) patients in the omeprazole group had healed completely. After 8 weeks, the cumulative healing rates were 94.2% and 91.4 % in the pantoprazole and omeprazole groups, respectively (P > 0.05 at 4 weeks and 8 weeks). Both groups experienced rapid relief of the key symptoms: heartburn, acid regurgitation and pain on swallowing. The time course of relief of the individual symptoms was similar in both groups after 2 and 4 weeks (P > 0.05). Both treatments were well tolerated, with only three patients withdrawing owing to adverse events.

Conclusion: Pantoprazole has been shown to be as effective as omeprazole in the treatment of reflux oesophagitis.