Should NSAID/low-dose aspirin takers be tested routinely for H. pylori
infection and treated if positive? Implications for primary risk of ulcer and ulcer relapse after initial healing
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Helicobacter pylori infection and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can each result in gastric or duodenal ulcer(s) and ulcer complications. Together, H. pylori infection and NSAIDs account for approximately 90% of peptic ulcer disease. In 2003, the results of studies suggest, and guidelines recommend, the careful selection of anti-inflammatory drugs - NSAIDs or selective COX-2 inhibitors (coxibs) based upon patients gastrointestinal history and use of aspirin therapy. Testing for, and cure of, H. pylori infection is recommended in patients prior to the initiation of NSAID therapy and in those who are currently receiving NSAIDs and have a history of dyspepsia, peptic ulcer or ulcer complications. For patients who present with peptic ulcer bleeding but require NSAIDs long-term, H. pylori eradication therapy should be considered, followed by continuous proton pump inhibitor prophylaxis to prevent re-bleeding, regardless of which kind of NSAID (nonselective NSAID /coxib) is being prescribed. Routine testing for, and eradication of, H. pylori infection has not been recommended for current takers of NSAIDs with no or low risk of complications. The management of patients taking low-dose aspirin is complex, but eradication of H. pylori infection alone in those with a past history of bleeding does not guarantee complete protection and therefore a proton pump inhibitor should also be given. The success of eradication therapy should always be confirmed, because of the risk of ulcer recurrence and bleeding in H. pylori-infected patients who require anti-inflammatory treatments.
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