Elizabet V Guimar es, Paula VP Guerra, Francisco J PennaDepartment of Pediatrics, Medical School, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, BrazilObjective: To review the literature on the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with emphasis on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), particularly on delayed-release esomeprazole, and to identify properties and adverse effects of PPIs observed in the treatment of GERD in children and adolescents.Sources: Electronic search of PubMed/Medline and Cochrane Collaboration databases, and of abstracts on DDW, NASPGHAN, and ESPGHAN. We focused on controlled and randomized studies published since 2000 and identified reviews that presented a consensual position, and directives published within the last 10 years.Main results: PPIs are considered better antisecretory agents than H2-receptor antagonists. Although all PPIs are similar, they are not identical in their pharmacologic properties. For example, the acid-suppressive effect of esomeprazole, the S-isomer of omeprazole, persists for more than 16 hours after administration of the morning dose. Therefore, it can control acidity after night meals better than a single dose of omeprazole. Moreover, the onset of the suppressive effect of esomeprazole is faster. It achieves acid inhibition faster than other PPIs.Conclusion: Currently, the mainstream treatment for GERD in children is a PPI. Although PPIs are safe drugs, effective in healing erosive esophagitis, and in relieving symptoms, studies with esomeprazole have shown that this drug has as powerful an ability to inhibit acid secretion as omeprazole. It also seems that some pharmacologic properties of esomeprazole are actually better for the treatment of GERD.Keywords: gastroesophageal reflux, therapy, child, adolescent.