BACKGROUND/AIMS: Reflux esophagitis is a recurring condition for which many patients require maintenance therapy. This comparative, randomized multicenter study was designed to evaluate the effect of long-term maintenance treatment comparing proton pump inhibitor, rabeprazole and H2 receptor antagonist, ranitidine. METHODS: Eighty four patients with healed reflux esophagitis confirmed by endoscopy were randomly allocated to receive maintenance treatment with either rabeprazole 10 mg once daily or ranitidine 300 mg once daily for 32 weeks. Patients were seen every 8 weeks or at symptomatic relapse. RESULTS: Of 84 initially treated patients, 73 entered the maintenance study. The percentage of asymptomatic patients after 90-day and 210-day treatment were 97% and 81.5%, for rabeprazole and 74.3% and 62.3%, for ranitidine, respectively. After 32 weeks, the relapse rates of esophagitis were 21.3% in the rabeprazole group and 62.9% in the ranitidine group (RR: 0.405, 95% CI: 0.215-0.766). CONCLUSIONS: Maintenance treatment with rabeprazole (10 mg once daily) is superior to ranitidine (300 mg once daily) in keeping the patients with reflux esophagitis in remission over a 32 week period.
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