Systematic reviews of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of proton pump inhibitors in acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding

Health Technol Assess. 2007 Dec;11(51):iii-iv, 1-164. doi: 10.3310/hta11510.


Objectives: To evaluate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in the prevention and treatment of acute upper gastrointestinal (UGI) haemorrhage, as well as to compare this with H2-receptor antagonist (H2RA), Helicobacter pylori eradication (in infected patients) or no therapy, for the prevention of first and/or subsequent bleeds among patients who continue to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Also to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of PPI therapy, compared with other treatments, for the prevention of subsequent bleeds in patients who had previously experienced peptic ulcer (PU) bleeding.

Data sources: Electronic databases and major conference proceedings were searched up to February 2006.

Review methods: Data were collected from the systematic reviews addressing each research objective. These were then entered into an economic model to compare the costs and quality-adjusted life-days of alternative management strategies over a 28-day period for patients who have had UGI bleeding. A Markov model with a Monte Carlo simulation used data from the systematic reviews to identify the most cost-effective treatment strategy for the prevention of UGI bleeding (first and subsequent) among NSAID users using an outcome of costs per quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) over a lifetime from age 50 years.

Results: PPI treatment initiated after endoscopic diagnosis of PU bleeding significantly reduced re-bleeding and surgery compared with placebo or H2RA. Although there was no evidence of an overall effect of PPI treatment on all-cause mortality, PPIs significantly reduced mortality in subgroups when studies conducted in Asia were examined in isolation or when the analysis was confined to patients with high-risk endoscopic findings. PPI treatment initiated prior to endoscopy in UGI bleeding significantly reduced the proportion of patients with stigmata of recent haemorrhage (SRH) at index endoscopy compared with placebo or H2RA, but there was no evidence that PPI treatment affected clinically important outcomes. Giving oral PPI both before and after endoscopy, with endoscopic haemostatic therapy (EHT) for those with major SRH, is preferred to all others on cost-effectiveness grounds at any threshold over 25,000 pounds per QALY, even if only short-term effects are taken into account, and at any threshold over 200 pounds per life-year gained if long-term effects are included. The risk of NSAID-induced endoscopic gastric and duodenal ulcers was reduced by standard doses of PPI and misoprostol, and double doses of H2RAs. Standard doses of H2RAs reduced the risk of endoscopic duodenal ulcers. PPIs reduced NSAID-induced dyspepsia. PPIs were superior to misoprostol in preventing recurrence of NSAID-induced endoscopic duodenal ulcers, but PPIs were comparable to misoprostol in preventing the recurrence of NSAID-induced endoscopic gastric ulcers. Full-dose misoprostol reduced bleeding, perforation or gastric outlet obstruction due to NSAID-induced ulcers, but misoprostol was poorly tolerated and associated with frequent adverse effects. H. pylori eradication treatment was equally effective with PPI treatment for the primary or secondary prevention of endoscopic ulcers in NSAID users. H. pylori eradication treatment was more effective than placebo for the primary prevention of endoscopic PU and for the prevention of re-bleeding from PU in NSAID users. With regard to primary and secondary prevention of bleeding PU in NSAID users, the two most cost-effective strategies are H. pylori eradication alone, and H. pylori eradication followed by misoprostol (substituted by a PPI, if misoprostol is not tolerated) at an additional 4810 pounds per QALY. In patients who had previously experienced a bleed from a PU, re-bleeding was less frequent after H. pylori eradication therapy than after non-eradication antisecretory therapy, whether or not the latter was combined with long-term maintenance antisecretory therapy.

Conclusions: PPI treatment compared with placebo or H2RA reduces mortality following PU bleeding among patients with high-risk endoscopic findings, and reduces re-bleeding rates and surgical intervention. PPI treatment initiated prior to endoscopy in UGI bleeding significantly reduces the proportion of patients with SRH at index endoscopy but does not reduce mortality, re-bleeding or the need for surgery. The strategy of giving oral PPI before and after endoscopy, with EHT for those with major SRH, is likely to be the most cost-effective. Treatment of H. pylori infection was found to be more effective than antisecretory therapy in preventing recurrent bleeding from PU. H. pylori eradication alone or eradication followed by misoprostol (with switch to PPI, if misoprostol is not tolerated) are the two most cost-effective strategies for preventing bleeding ulcers among H. pylori-infected NSAID users, although the data cannot exclude PPIs also being cost-effective. Further large randomised controlled trials are needed to address areas such as PPI administration prior to endoscopic diagnosis, different doses and administration of PPIs, as well as the primary and secondary prevention of UGI bleeding.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Duodenal Ulcer / complications
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / economics
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / economics
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / drug therapy*
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / economics
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / economics
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*


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