Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and increased risk for peptic ulcer disease in elderly persons

Ann Intern Med. 1991 Feb 15;114(4):257-63. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-4-257.


Objective: To evaluate the relative risk for peptic ulcer disease that is associated with the use of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Design: Nested case-control study.

Setting: Tennessee Medicaid program.

Participants: Medicaid enrollees 65 years of age or older were included in the study. The 1415 case patients had been hospitalized for confirmed peptic ulcer disease at some point from 1984 through 1986. The 7063 control persons represented a stratified random sample of other Medicaid enrollees.

Measurements and main results: The estimated relative risk for the development of peptic ulcer disease among current users of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, compared with that among nonusers, was 4.1 (95% CI, 3.5 to 4.7). For current users, the risk increased with increasing dose, from a relative risk of 2.8 (CI, 1.8 to 4.3) for the lowest to a relative risk of 8.0 (CI, 4.4 to 14.8) for the highest dose category. The risk was greatest in the first month of use (relative risk, 7.2; CI, 4.9 to 10.5). If the association is fully causal, 29% of peptic ulcers in the study sample resulted from the use of these drugs, and the excess risk associated with such use was 17.4 hospitalizations for ulcer disease per 1000 person-years of exposure.

Conclusions: These data support other findings indicating that a clinically significant risk for serious ulcer disease is associated with the use of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The data show that this risk increases with dose and recency of use and that use of these drugs may be responsible for a large proportion of peptic ulcer disease among elderly persons.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Peptic Ulcer / chemically induced*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aspirin