Are Proton Pump Inhibitors the first choice for acute treatment of Gastric Ulcers?

Rabeprazole is an inhibitor of the gastric proton pump.

It causes dose-dependent inhibition of acid secretion and has a more rapid onset of action than omeprazole.

Duodenal ulcers healed faster after treatment with rabeprazole 20 or 40 mg/day than placebo or ranitidine 150 mg 4 times daily and at a generally similar rate to omeprazole 20 mg/day in patients with duodenal ulcers; rabeprazole was similar or superior to these agents in relieving symptoms. Rabeprazole 20 and 40 mg/day healed gastric ulcers faster than placebo, and rabeprazole 20 mg/day healed ulcers at a similar healing rate, to omeprazole 20 mg/day in well controlled 6-week studies. Gastric ulcer symptom relief with rabeprazole was similar or superior to that provided by omeprazole or placebo. In 8-week studies in patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD), rabeprazole 10, 20 and 40 mg/day were more effective than placebo, rabeprazole 20 mg/day was more effective than ranitidine 150 mg twice daily, and rabeprazole 20 mg/day was similar in efficacy to omeprazole 20 mg/day. Symptom relief with rabeprazole in 8-week trials in patients with GERD was superior to that provided by placebo, and similar to ranitidine or omeprazole. Rabeprazole was similar to omeprazole and superior to placebo in both maintenance of healing and prevention of symptoms in patients with healed GERD in 1-year studies. One-week triple therapy with rabeprazole 20 mg twice daily plus 2 antibacterial agents achieved > or = 90% Helicobacter pylori eradication, but, as would be expected, a regimen of rabeprazole 20 mg twice daily plus 1 antibacterial agent was less successful. The drug was as effective as omeprazole and lansoprazole as part of triple therapy for H. pylori eradication. Rabeprazole successfully reduced acid output to target levels and prevented further pathological changes in 10 patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Usual dosages of rabeprazole are 20 mg/day for 4 weeks to treat duodenal ulcers, 6 weeks for gastric ulcers and 8 weeks for GERD, although some patients with duodenal ulcer may respond to a 10 mg/day dosage. For long term maintenance of GERD healing, 10 or 20 mg daily doses are adequate. Patients with hypersecretory states may need individualised dosages starting at 60 mg/day.

The drug was well tolerated in clinical trials, with headache, rash, infection, diarrhoea and flu syndrome as the most common adverse events.

In conclusion, rabeprazole appears to be a well tolerated proton pump inhibitor with a rapid onset of action and a low potential for drug interactions. The drug may be used to achieve healing and the relief of symptoms of duodenal ulcer, gastric ulcer and GERD, maintain GERD healing, and can form part of effective regimens to eradicate H. pylori.


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