Research Article

Intermittent treatment of duodenal ulcer with cimetidine.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 05 July 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:20
  1. K D Bardhan


    Intermittent treatment with short courses of cimetidine given only when symptoms recurred was assessed in patients with duodenal ulcer as an alternative to maintenance treatment. Their progress was followed up for up to 22 months. Gastroscopy was carried out in most attacks to confirm recurrence of the ulcer and subsequent healing. Out of 125 patients treated, 83 relapsed, of whom 21 defaulted. After retreatment 36 patients relapsed again. The pattern of relapse and remission for the group as a whole was similar after both courses of treatment, indicating an unchanged natural history. Nevertheless, wide variation occurred in individual patients, so that the pattern of relapse could not be predicted by the duration of the initial remission. Most patients had one or two or rarely three symptomatic relapses a year, which were rapidly treated successfully with cimetidine. Therefore, unless the necessity for long-term maintenance treatment is established, intermittent treatment provides an adequate alternative in most patients with duodenal ulcer.