We have determined the relative importance of day and night time gastric acid inhibition for duodenal ulcer healing by comparing the anti-ulcer efficacy of a single morning with that of a single bedtime dose of ranitidine. One hundred and thirty patients with active duodenal ulcer were randomly assigned to a double-blind therapy with ranitidine 300 mg at 8 am or the same dose at 10 pm for up to eight weeks. The antisecretory effects of these regimens were also assessed by 24 h intragastric pH monitoring in 18 of these patients. At four weeks ulcers had healed in 41/61 (67%) of patients taking the morning dose and in 47/63 (75%) of those receiving the nocturnal dose (95% CI for the difference -0.09 +0.25; p ns). At eight weeks, the corresponding healing rates were 82% and 85.5%, respectively (95% CI for the difference -0.11 +0.17; p ns). Both treatments were significantly superior to placebo in raising 24 h intragastric pH, although the effects of the morning dose were of shorter duration than those of the nocturnal dose. These findings suggest that suppression of nocturnal acidity is important but not essential to promote healing of duodenal ulcers; a prolonged period of acid inhibition during the day (as obtained with a single large morning dose of H2-blockers) may be equally effective.
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