Symptom relief in gastroesophageal reflux disease: a randomized, controlled comparison of pantoprazole and nizatidine in a mixed patient population with erosive esophagitis or endoscopy-negative reflux disease.
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OBJECTIVES: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in primary care practice presents symptomatically, and resources to distinguish promptly between erosive esophagitis and endoscopy-negative reflux disease (ENRD) are limited. It is therefore important to determine the roles of proton pump inhibitors and histamine-2-receptor antagonists for first-line symptom-based therapy in patients with erosive esophagitis and ENRD. The aim of this study was to compare pantoprazole 40 mg once daily versus nizatidine 150 mg b.i.d. in a mixed GERD patient population with ENRD or erosive esophagitis (Savary-Miller grades 1-3). METHODS: A 4-wk randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, multicenter study conducted in Canada. Eligible patients had experienced GERD symptoms > or = 4 times weekly for > 6 months. Patients were randomized to pantoprazole 40 mg once daily or nizatidine 150 mg b.i.d.. Endoscopy was performed before randomization and after 4 wk of therapy. RESULTS: Of 220 patients randomized to therapy, 208 were available for a modified intent-to-treat analysis. Erosive esophagitis was present in 125 patients; 35 patients were Helicobacter pylori positive. There was complete symptom relief after 7 days of therapy in 14% of patients on nizatidine and in 40% of those on pantoprazole (p < 0.0001), and after 28 days of treatment in 36% and 63% of patients, respectively (p < 0.0001). After 28 days of treatment, adequate heartburn control was reported by 58% of the nizatidine group and in 88% of the pantoprazole (p < 0.0001); erosive esophagitis healing rates were 44% for nizatidine and 79% for pantoprazole (p < 0.001). Rescue antacid was needed by a greater number of patients using nizatidine than of those using pantoprazole (p < 0.001). H. pylori infection was associated with an increased probability of erosive esophagitis healing. CONCLUSIONS: Pantoprazole once daily was superior to nizatidine b.i.d. in producing complete heartburn relief in a mixed population of GERD patients and in achieving erosion healing. The proportions of patients with complete symptom relief were greater with pantoprazole after 7 days of therapy than with nizatidine after 28 days. The present study data suggest that pantoprazole is a highly effective first-line therapy for the management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in a primary care practice setting.
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