Proton-pump inhibitors reduce the risk of uncomplicated peptic ulcer in elderly either acute or chronic users of aspirin/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Nov 15;20(10):1091-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2004.02246.x.


Background: Although administration of gastroprotective drugs may reduce the risk of peptic ulcers associated with the chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, no consensus exists as to whether this co-therapy is effective for short-term prevention, particularly in old age.

Aim: To evaluate the risk of peptic ulcer associated with acute and chronic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin therapy in elderly subjects, and the influence of antisecretory treatment on this risk.

Methods: The study included 676 elderly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin users and 2435 non-users who consecutively underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or aspirin as well as antisecretory drugs (H2-blockers and proton-pump inhibitors) was evaluated by a structured interview. Diagnosis of gastric and duodenal ulcer as well as Helicobacter pylori infection were carried out by endoscopy and histological examination of the gastric mucosa.

Results: About 47.3% of patients were acute and 52.7% chronic users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin. The risk of peptic ulcer, adjusted for age, gender, H. pylori infection and antisecretory drug use was higher in acute (gastric ulcer: odds ratio, OR = 4.47, 95% CI: 3.19-6.26 and duodenal ulcer: OR = 2.39, 95% CI: 1.73-3.31) than chronic users (gastric ulcer: OR = 2.80, 95% CI: 1.97-3.99 and duodenal ulcer: OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.22-2.33). Proton-pump inhibitor treatment was associated with a reduced risk of peptic ulcer in both acute (OR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.24-2.04) and chronic (OR = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.15-0.67) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/aspirin users. Conversely, concomitant treatment with H2-blockers was associated with a significantly higher risk of peptic ulcer both in acute (OR = 10.9, 95% CI: 3.87-30.9) and chronic (OR = 6.26, 95% CI: 2.56-15.3) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/aspirin users than non-users. Proton-pump inhibitor treatment resulted in an absolute risk reduction of peptic ulcer by 36.6% in acute and 34.6% in chronic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/aspirin users; indeed, the number needed to treat to avoid one peptic ulcer in elderly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/aspirin users was three both in acute and chronic users.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that proton-pump inhibitor co-treatment is advisable in symptomatic elderly patients who need to be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or aspirin for a short period of time.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Aspirin / adverse effects*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peptic Ulcer / chemically induced*
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors
  • Aspirin