Preventing Ulcer in Aspirin, Advil Users
In a separate report, researchers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong expanded on earlier intervention studies. All patients were beginning NSAID therapy, had a history of stomach problems, and were infected with H. pylori. Half of the patients received treatment to eradicate the infection and the other half did not. Six months later, patients in the group that did not receive eradication therapy were more nearly three times more likely than those in the eradication therapy group to have developed an ulcer.
Gastroenterologist Roy E. Pounder, MD, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new research, says that together the two studies prove that H. pylori infection increases the chances of developing ulcers in people taking conventional NSAIDs. But, he tells WebMD, there is not yet a clear course of action to protect those at risk.
He says people who are infected or have a history of stomach problems might consider taking the newer NSAIDS known as Cox-2 inhibitors that are designed to avoid stomach problems. But the drugs have not been tested among patients with known H. pylori infection. Those taking traditional NSAIDs might also consider adding over-the-counter acid-reducing drugs or the newer proton pump inhibitors to their regimen.
Hunt says the main message to be drawn from the two studies is that people taking conventional NSAIDs should discuss ulcer risk with their doctor, especially if they have a history of stomach problems.
"I don't want to overstate this and say that everybody should be tested for H. pylori infection," he says. "I think it is way too early to say this. But it is clear from these studies that anyone being put on traditional NSAIDs needs to have a very careful medical history taken."