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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Sep;12(9):909-17.

On-demand treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms: a comparison of ranitidine 75 mg with cimetidine 200 mg or placebo.

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Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, University of Nantes, France.



To compare the effects of ranitidine 75 mg with those of either cimetidine 200 mg or placebo given on demand for relief of typical symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease during a 15-day period.


A total of 1336 patients (aged > or = 18 years) with heartburn episodes were recruited and randomly assigned to a ranitidine 75 mg, cimetidine 200 mg or placebo group. Depending on the occurrence or persistence of heartburn, treatment was administered as required up to three times daily, with at least 2 h between drug doses. Antacids were allowed as rescue medication if symptoms persisted for at least 2 h after the third medication on any given day. The primary end-point was defined as the proportion of patients with relief of at least 75% of heartburn episodes during the study period (i.e. relief occurring within 2 h after drug ingestion and lasting for at least 5 h).


Analysis was performed in an intention-to-treat population comprising 504 subjects in the ranitidine group, 515 in the cimetidine group and 270 in the placebo group. Primary end-point success rates were 41, 38 and 28%, respectively, for the three groups (P < 0.001 for ranitidine vs. placebo, P = 0.274 for ranitidine vs. cimetidine). Ranitidine 75 mg was significantly more effective than placebo in providing overall heartburn relief (P < 0.001). The differences between the ranitidine and cimetidine groups were not significant, except for a greater reduction in heartburn frequency in the ranitidine group at the end of the study period (P < 0.05). Drug dose was lower and less rescue medication was used in the ranitidine group than the placebo group. The three treatment groups did not differ in terms of tolerability.


On-demand ranitidine 75 mg or cimetidine 200 mg are safe and effective treatment for reflux-related symptoms.

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