OBJECTIVE: In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esomeprazole, the S-isomer of omeprazole, has demonstrated pharmacological and clinical benefits beyond those seen with the racemic parent compound. This study was designed to further evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of esomeprazole relative to that of omeprazole in healing erosive esophagitis and resolving accompanying symptoms of GERD. METHODS: Esomeprazole 40 mg was compared with omeprazole 20 mg once daily in 2425 patients with erosive esophagitis (Helicobacter pylori negative by serology) in an 8-wk, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study conducted in 163 centers throughout the US. The primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of patients with healed esophagitis at wk 8. Secondary endpoints were the proportion of patients healed at wk 4, resolution of heartburn at wk 4, time to first resolution and sustained resolution of heartburn, and proportion of heartburn-free days and nights. Safety and tolerability were also assessed. RESULTS: Significantly more patients were healed with esomeprazole versus omeprazole at wk 8 (93.7% vs 84.2%, p < 0.001; life table estimates, intention-to-treat analysis). Healing rates at wk 4 were 81.7% and 68.7%, respectively. Esomeprazole was superior to omeprazole for all secondary measures and had a similar safety profile. The most common adverse events in both treatment groups were headache, diarrhea, and nausea. CONCLUSIONS: Esomeprazole demonstrates significantly greater efficacy than omeprazole in the treatment of GERD patients with erosive esophagitis. The tolerability and safety of esomeprazole are comparable to that of omeprazole.
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