The endoscopic healing rates and factors related to healing of two cimetidine regimens designed to reduce respectively postprandial and nocturnal acid secretions were studied in a randomised trial of cimetidine 200 mg tds with meals, vs 600 mg at bedtime, vs 200 mg tds with meals plus 400 mg at bedtime in 246 patients with duodenal ulcer. The respective healing rates were 62.3%, 63.1%, 77.5% at four weeks and 86.6%, 83.3%, 91.2% at eight weeks. The healing rates at four weeks of both meal time and bedtime regimens were inferior (p less than 0.05) to that of the standard regimen. Analysis of 45 prospectively obtained factors showed that (i) habitual cigarette smoking adversely affected healing with the meal time regimen but not with the others, indicating that its adverse effect disappeared once nocturnal acid secretion was reduced, (ii) habitual use of analgesics impaired and their abstinence favoured healing by both meal time and bedtime regimens but these effects were lost with the standard regimen, suggesting that if analgesics cannot be withdrawn during ulcer treatment, a reduction of both meal time and night time acid secretions should be ensured, (iii) responders with the meal time and bedtime regimens had respectively significantly higher postprandial serum gastrin and higher basal acid output than the corresponding non-responders suggesting that these responders had different pathophysiology, and (iv) high maximal acid output and large ulcers healed less well by any regimen.
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