Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Prophylactic effect of cimetidine in duodenal ulcer disease.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 29 April 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:1095
  1. E Gudmand-Høyer,
  2. K B Jensen,
  3. E Krag,
  4. J Rask-Madsen,
  5. I Rahbek,
  6. S J Rune,
  7. H R Wulff


    Fifty-seven symptom-free patients with duodenal ulcer entered a double-blind trial to assess the prophylactic effect of cimetidine. Patients were randomly allocated to receive cimetidine 400 mg twice daily (29 patients) or placebo (28 patients). The trial was designed to imitate daily clinical practice, so duodenal ulcer disease was diagnosed by means of x-ray examination. Three patients from each group withdrew from the trial. All remaining patients continued to receive treatment for 12 months or until symptoms recurred. Three out of 26 patients suffered relapses during cimetidine treatment, compared with 20 out of 25 receiving placebo. No side effects were attributable to cimetidine. Long-term cimetidine treatment had no curative effect as relapses occurred soon after treatment was stopped. The estimated chance (cumulative remission rate +/- 2 SE) of remaining symptom-free 13 weeks after one year's cimetidine treatment had been completed was 47 +/- 21%. Maintenance treatment with cimetidine is a suitable alternative to elective in surgery in patients with duodenal ulcer subjects frequent relapses. Further study is needed to establish the optimal duration and safety of prolonged cimetidine treatment.