Forty five patients with refractory oesophagitis, defined as persisting erosive changes or ulceration despite a minimum of three months' treatment with cimetidine 3.2 g daily or ranitidine 0.9 g daily, were treated in an open trial with omeprazole 40 mg daily for up to eight weeks. Endoscopically defined healing was observed in 73% of patients after four weeks' treatment and in 91% after eight weeks' treatment. Symptoms were completely relieved in 60% of patients, improved in 34%, unchanged in 4%, and worsened in 2%. After healing patients returned to maintenance treatment with cimetidine 1.6-3.2 g daily, depending on the severity of their illness before treatment with omeprazole. By six months and 12 months only 55% and 33% of patients respectively were still in remission. This study suggests that when erosive oesophagitis is refractory to treatment with high dose cimetidine or ranitidine, treatment with omeprazole 40 mg daily for up to eight weeks is effective in inducing healing and relieving symptoms.
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