Objectives: Low-dose aspirin is standard treatment for prevention of cardiovascular events in at-risk patients. However, long-term administration of low-dose aspirin is associated with a greater risk of adverse events, including gastroduodenal ulcers. This study determined the efficacy of esomeprazole for reducing the risk of gastric and/or duodenal ulcers and dyspeptic symptoms in patients receiving continuous, low-dose aspirin therapy.
Methods: Patients aged > or =60 yr, without baseline gastroduodenal ulcer at endoscopy, who were receiving aspirin 75-325 mg once daily, were randomized to esomeprazole 20 mg once daily or placebo for 26 wk. The presence of endoscopic gastric and/or duodenal ulcers and esophageal lesions was assessed at weeks 8 and 26. Upper gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed at weeks 8, 16, and 26.
Results: The intention-to-treat population comprised 991 patients (esomeprazole, N = 493; placebo, N = 498). Twenty-seven patients (5.4%) in the placebo group developed a gastric or duodenal ulcer during 26 weeks' treatment compared with eight patients (1.6%) in the esomeprazole group (life-table estimates: 6.2%vs 1.8%; P= 0.0007). At 26 wk, the cumulative proportion of patients with erosive esophagitis was significantly lower for esomeprazole versus placebo (4.4% and 18.3%, respectively; P < 0.0001). At 26 wk, esomeprazole-treated patients were more likely to experience resolution of heartburn, acid regurgitation, and epigastric pain (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Esomeprazole 20 mg once daily reduces the risk of developing gastric and/or duodenal ulcers and symptoms associated with the continuous use of low-dose aspirin in patients aged > or =60 yr without preexisting gastroduodenal ulcers.