Reflux of duodeno‐gastric juice into the oesophagus appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of both reflux oesophagitis and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Although proton pump inhibitors have been shown to decrease acid reflux and heal oesophagitis, their effect on biliary reflux and motility is less clear.
To investigate whether pantoprazole also reduces bile reflux and whether this is paralleled by a change in oesophageal motility.
Combined 24‐h measurements of intraoesophageal bilirubin concentration, pH and pressure were performed in 18 symptomatic patients with endoscopically proven reflux oesophagitis before and on day 28 of treatment with pantoprazole, 40 mg/day, under standardized conditions. A reflux symptom score was determined initially and every 2 weeks thereafter. After 56 days on medication, a control endoscopy was performed.
The symptom score and the acid and bile reflux improved significantly, whereas the motility parameters did not change during the study period. Helicobacter pylori‐positive patients had a significantly higher bile reflux time (32.1 ± 4.3%) than H. pylori‐negative patients (16.3 ± 3.1%) (P=0.009). The endoscopic healing rate was 89%. The cough symptoms disappeared in three of four patients.
The proton pump inhibitor pantoprazole decreases both acid and bile reflux. The decrease of bile reflux cannot be explained by increased oesophageal clearance as oesophageal motility did not improve with therapy. Interestingly, H. pylori infection of the stomach was associated with higher levels of oesophageal bile reflux.
Our study shows, for the first time, that omeprazole infusion was significantly superior to all other regimens by having a high median pH >6 on each day. The tolerance effect of ranitidine, however, led to a rapid loss of antisecretory activity on days 2 and 3, rendering it inappropriate for situations in which high intragastric pH-levels appear to be essential.
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