Background: Patients with Rockall scores ≥6 have an increased risk of long-term peptic ulcer rebleeding. This study was aimed toward investigating whether an extended course of oral esomeprazole up to 1 year decreased ulcer rebleeding in such patients. Methods: We prospectively enrolled 120 patients with peptic ulcer bleeding and Rockall scores ≥6. After an initial 16-week oral proton pump inhibitor (PPI) treatment, patients were randomized to receive a 36-week course of oral twice-daily esomeprazole 20 mg (Group D, n = 60) or once-daily (Group S, n = 60). Thereafter, they were divided into the PPI-on-demand (n = 32) and PPI-discontinued (n = 77) subgroups. Our previous cohort with Rockall scores ≥6 served as the controls (Group C, n = 135); they received only an initial 8- to 16-week oral PPI. The primary and secondary outcomes were peptic ulcer rebleeding during the first year and the second year-and-thereafter, respectively. Results: For the primary outcome, groups D and S comprised a higher proportion of rebleeding-free than Group C (P = 0.008 and 0.03, log-rank test). The competing-risks regression analysis confirmed that extended PPI use and American Society of Anesthesiologists classification were independent factors contributing to the primary outcome. For the secondary outcome, PPI-on-demand had a borderline higher proportion of rebleeding-free than Group C (P = 0.07, log-rank test); however, only the Rockall score was the independent factor. Conclusions: An extended 36-week course of oral esomeprazole 20 mg, twice- or once-daily for patients with Rockall scores ≥6 reduced ulcer rebleeding during the first year, but the effect needed to be further validated when PPIs were shifted to on-demand or discontinued thereafter (NCT02456012, 28/05/2015).
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