The purpose of this single blind controlled multicentre trial was to compare the relative effectiveness of pirenzepine and cimetidine in healing endoscopically proven duodenal ulcers. One hundred and twenty six patients with duodenal ulcer were treated with a daily dose of 100 mg pirenzepine (50 mg each before breakfast and before the evening meal), and 128 patients were treated with 1000 mg cimetidine (200 mg with breakfast, lunch, and evening meal and 400 mg at bedtime). Endoscopy was repeated after four weeks by an endoscopist who had not been informed about the treatment. Pirenzepine showed a healing rate of 64.3%, cimetidine one of 73.4%. This difference is not statistically significant (one-sided test: chi 1(2) = 2.48). After four weeks a higher proportion of first ulcers than of recurrent lesions was healed. Pain relief was rapidly achieved with both drugs. A significant trend in favour of cimetidine may, however, not be clinically relevant considering the small difference in the absolute numbers of pain free days and nights. Adverse effects were rare and reversible. We conclude that the efficacy of pirenzepine is similar to that of cimetidine in healing duodenal ulcers.
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