PPI Trial for Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Chaos in the Community

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Despite consensus eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) statement published in 2011 calling for a 2-month trial of protons pump inhibitor (PPI), the guidelines are not followed by many. We studied the practice patterns in our community and response to a PPI retrial in patients previously diagnosed with “idiopathic EoE.”


All patients presenting to the senior author’s practice with suspected EoE from 2011 to 2015. Two cohorts were studied: (1) patients diagnosed in the community as “idiopathic EoE”; (2) treatment naïve patients given a PPI trial at University of South Florida. PPI responsive eosinophilia was defined after 2 months of high dose PPIs after initial diagnosis of mucosal eosinophilia and histologic response of <15 eosinophils per HPF. SPSS v19.0 was used to calculate mean difference and odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals.


In total, 78 patients met inclusion criteria, 46 patients had outside diagnosis of “idiopathic EoE,” and 41 patients received a PPI trial at University of South Florida. In total, 34/46 (73.9%) community patients were placed on a PPI, 3/46 (6.5%) were placed on elimination diets, 31/46 (67.4%) steroids, and 21/46 (45.7%) were treated with both steroids/PPIs. Fewer patients received PPI trials in the community 3/46 (6.5%) versus 26/34 (76.5%) at our center [OR, 46.6 (95% CI, 11.3-191.5); P<0.0001]. In total, 12/26 (46.2%) were PPI responders on our retrial despite previously being diagnosed with idiopathic EoE. The group initially diagnosed at our center had a higher PPI response rate 12/15 (80%) versus 12/26 (46.2%) in the community group [OR, 7.58 (1.42, 40.55; P=0.018)].


The importance of a PPI trial is misunderstood and may be confused with the more traditional PPI trial for gastroesophageal reflux disease. This algorithm is critical and should be done before empiric steroids/diet therapies.

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