Background: The relation between H pylori infection and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the pathogenesis of peptic-ulcer disease is controversial. We undertook a meta-analysis to address this issue.
Methods: By computer and manually we sought observational studies on the prevalence of peptic-ulcer disease in adult NSAID takers or the prevalence of H pylori infection and NSAID use in patients with peptic-ulcer bleeding. Summary odds ratios were calculated from the raw data. Tests for homogeneity were done.
Findings: Of 463 citations identified, 25 studies met inclusion criteria. In 16 studies of 1625 NSAID takers, uncomplicated peptic-ulcer disease was significantly more common in patients positive than in those negative for H pylori (341/817 [41.7%] vs 209/808 [25.9%]; odds ratio 2.12 [95% CI 1.68-2.67]). In five controlled studies, peptic-ulcer disease was significantly more common in NSAID takers (138/385 [35.8%]) than in controls (23/276 [8.3%]), irrespective of H pylori infection. Compared with H pylori negative individuals not taking NSAIDs, the risk of ulcer in H pylori infected NSAID takers was 61.1 (9.98-373). H pylori infection increased the risk of peptic-ulcer disease in NSAID takers 3.53-fold in addition to the risk associated with NSAID use (odds ratio 19.4). Similarly, in the presence of risk of peptic-ulcer disease associated with H pylori infection (18.1), use of NSAIDs increased the risk of peptic-ulcer disease 3.55-fold. H pylori infection and NSAID use increased the risk of ulcer bleeding 1.79-fold and 4.85-fold, respectively. However, the risk of ulcer bleeding increased to 6.13 when both factors were present.
Interpretation: Both H pylori infection and NSAID use independently and significantly increase the risk of peptic ulcer and ulcer bleeding. There is synergism for the development of peptic ulcer and ulcer bleeding between H pylori infection and NSAID use. Peptic-ulcer disease is rare in H pylori negative non-NSAID takers.