BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Patients with Los Angeles grade A or B reflux esophagitis (RE-AB) can potentially be switched from active-phase therapy to on-demand esomeprazole as maintenance therapy. Body mass index (BMI) correlates significantly with reflux symptoms. We investigated whether BMI affects the efficacy of esomeprazole in active-phase or subsequent on-demand therapy. METHODS: Three hundred fifty patients with RE-AB were prospectively enrolled to receive an 8-wk course of esomeprazole (40 mg/day) as active-phase therapy. Based on the daily severity of acid regurgitation and heartburn, the cumulative proportions of patients with sustained symptomatic response (SSR), defined as free from symptoms for the last 7 days, were compared among different BMI groups (control: BMI <25 kg/m2, overweight: BMI 25-30 kg/m2, obese: BMI >30 kg/m2). In patients who had achieved SSR by week 8, on-demand therapy for 2 months was started. The number of 40-mg esomeprazole tablets used per 4-wk period was recorded. RESULTS: SSR rates were lower in both the overweight and obese groups than in the control group (P < 0.001). During on-demand therapy, the mean number of tablets used per 4-wk period was lower in the control group than in either the overweight or the obese group (13.2 vs 15.3 or 16.2, P < 0.05). The failure rate of on-demand therapy increased with increasing BMI - 2.4%, 5.3%, and 14.2%, respectively, for the control, overweight, and obese groups (P = 0.002). CONCLUSION: For RE-AB, a higher BMI decreases the rate of SSR after 8-wk of esomeprazole therapy, and increases the need for medication and the failure rate of on-demand therapy.
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