The effects of a new carbenoxolone analogue (BX24), zinc sulphate, and vitamin A on the healing of gastric ulcer have been assessed in a multifactorial clinical trial conducted in out-patients treated for four weeks.
Forty-eight patients completed the trial. Three groups of eight patients were given respectively 300, 600, and 1 200 mg of BX24 daily and were compared with 24 patients who were given 300 mg of carbenoxolone sodium daily. The size of the ulcer niche was reduced on average by 14·6% in the eight patients given BX24 300 mg daily, by 47·6% in the patients given 600 mg daily, and by 51·0% in the patients given 1 200 mg daily. In the patients given carbenoxolone the size of the niche was reduced by 68·9%. These results were compared with those obtained previously with carbenoxolone and inert tablets and it was concluded that BX24 is without clinically useful effect in the doses used.
Eleven of the 24 patients (46%) treated with carbenoxolone sodium developed side effects due to fluid retention and electrolyte disturbances. None of the patients given BX24 experienced such effects.
In addition to carbenoxolone or BX24, 24 patients were given zinc sulphate, 660 mg daily, and in 24 patients these tablets were withheld. Among the patients given carbenoxolone the reduction in the size of the niche was much the same irrespective of whether or not the patients received zinc sulphate. Among the 12 patients given BX24 with zinc sulphate the ulcer healed completely in four and, on average, the size of the niche was reduced by 53·5%, compared with 21·9% in the 12 patients given BX24 alone. This difference is not statistically significant but the possibility of a beneficial effect from zinc is not excluded. No side effects attributable to zinc were observed.
Twenty-four patients were also given vitamin A, 50 000 units daily, and in 24 patients the vitamin was withheld. No evidence was obtained to suggest that vitamin A had any beneficial effect on the healing of gastric ulcer.