A multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy and safety of famotidine with ranitidine in the treatment of acute, benign gastric ulcer disease was coupled with a community-based gastric ulcer disease registry. One hundred ninety-five patients with endoscopically documented gastric ulcer disease were enrolled in the trial and randomly allocated to treatment with either famotidine 40 mg at bedtime or ranitidine 150 mg twice a day. Healing rates were similar in both groups: at four weeks 49% vs 48%, at six weeks 71% vs 69%, and at eight weeks 83% vs 81% for famotidine and for ranitidine, respectively. Pain relief, antacid tablet use, and adverse experiences were also similar in the two groups. Only 25% of patients entered in the gastric ulcer registry were enrolled in the trial. Given that patients with more severe or complicated gastric ulcer disease should be excluded from controlled trials of new drugs, the screening criteria used in the present study be excluded from findings being representative of a quarter of the patients seen in these practices. Therefore, coupling a patient registry with a clinical trial helps determine the applicability of its results. Famotidine 40 mg at bedtime is an effective and well-tolerated treatment of acute, benign gastric ulcer disease and is comparable in efficacy and safety to ranitidine 150 mg twice a day.