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Summary

Proton pump inhibitors are now considered the mainstay of treatment for acid-related disease. Although all proton pump inhibitors are highly effective, the antisecretory effects of different drugs in this class are not completely consistent across patients. One reason for this is the acid-suppressing effect of Helicobacter pylori infection, which may augment the actions of proton pump inhibitors. A second important reason for interpatient variability of the effects of proton pump inhibitors on acid secretion involves genetically determined differences in the metabolism of these drugs. This article focuses on the impact of genetic polymorphism of cytochrome P450 (CYP)2C19 on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of proton pump inhibitors, particularly rabeprazole. Results reviewed indicate that the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of rabeprazole differ significantly from those of other proton pump inhibitors. Most importantly, the clearance of rabeprazole is largely nonenzymatic and less dependent on CYP2C19 than other drugs in its class. This results in greater consistency of pharmacokinetics for rabeprazole across a wide range of patients with acid-related disease, particularly those with different CYP2C19 genotypes. The pharmacodynamic profile for rabeprazole is also characterized by more rapid suppression of gastric acid secretion than with other proton pump inhibitors, which is also independent of CYP2C19 genotype. The favourable pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profile for rabeprazole has been shown to result in high eradication rates for H. pylori in both normal and poor metabolizers. Pharmacodynamic results have also suggested that rabeprazole may be better suited than omeprazole as on-demand therapy for symptomatic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Finally, the use of rabeprazole is not complicated by clinically significant drug–drug interactions of the type that have been reported for omeprazole.