Objectives: To assess the difference in direct medical costs between on-demand (OD) treatment with esomeprazole (E) 20 mg and continuous (C) treatment with E 20 mg q.d. from a clinical practice view in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. Methods: This open, randomized study (ONE: on-demand Nexium evaluation) compared two long-term management options with E 20 mg in endoscopically uninvestigated patients seeking primary care for GERD symptoms who demonstrated complete relief of symptoms after an initial treatment of 4 weeks with E 40 mg. Data on consumed quantities of all cost items were collected in the study, while data on prices during the time of study were collected separately. The analysis was done from a societal perspective. Results: Forty-nine percent (484 of 991) of patients randomized to the OD regimen and 46% (420 of 913) of the patients in the C group had at least one contact with the investigator that would have occurred nonprotocol-driven. The difference of the adjusted mean direct medical costs between the treatment groups was CHF 88.72 (95% confidence interval: CHF 41.34-153.95) in favor of the OD treatment strategy (Wilcoxon rank-sum test: P < 0.0001). Adjusted direct nonmedical costs and productivity loss were similar in both groups. Conclusions: The adjusted direct medical costs of a 6-month OD treatment with esomeprazole 20 mg in uninvestigated patients with symptoms of GERD were significantly lower compared with a continuous treatment with E 20 mg once a day. The OD therapy represents a cost-saving alternative to the continuous treatment strategy with E.