The metabolism of many proton pump inhibitors is influenced by CYP2C19 genotype, which is a limitation of their use. To determine the efficacy and safety profile of Z-215 (azeloprazole sodium) as initial treatment for reflux esophagitis (RE), dose response, and optimal dose compared with rabeprazole sodium (RPZ). We conducted an exploratory, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study in Japan. Patients with RE aged ≥20 years were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive 10, 20, or 40 mg Z-215 or 10 mg RPZ (1:1:1:1), and orally administered the respective drug for 8 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was the endoscopic healing rate after 8 weeks of treatment (at Week 8). We also assessed the effects of CYP2C19 genotype. Safety end points were the incidence of adverse events and adverse drug reactions. Five hundred three patients received the study drugs (10 mg Z-215: 125 patients, 20 mg Z-215: 126 patients, 40 mg Z-215: 126 patients, and 10 mg RPZ: 126 patients). The endoscopic healing rate at Week 8 was above 95% in all groups (10 mg Z-215: 95.2%, 20 mg Z-215: 96.8%, 40 mg Z-215: 95.2%, and 10 mg RPZ: 96.8%). The endoscopic healing rate and serum gastrin levels of the Z-215 groups were not influenced by CYP2C19 genotype. In patients with Grade C/D, the endoscopic healing rate at Week 4 was slightly higher in the 40-mg Z-215 group compared with the other groups. Incidences of adverse events/adverse drug reactions did not markedly differ between the Z-215 and 10-mg RPZ groups. Z-215 was as effective and well tolerated as 10 mg RPZ in the treatment of RE in this selected population. CYP2C19 genotype status may not influence the efficacy and safety of Z-215. There were no clear dose-response effects between Z-215 doses in the endoscopic healing of RE. These findings suggest that Z-215 may be 1 option for the initial treatment of RE. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT 02463643.