Association of Antisecretory Drugs with Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding in Patients Using Oral Anticoagulants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Am J Med. 2022 Jun 7;S0002-9343(22)00433-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2022.05.031. Online ahead of print.


Background: The role of antisecretory drugs for the prevention of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in patients using anticoagulants is unclear. We investigated this question in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: We searched Embase, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, and thru April 2021 for controlled randomized trials and observational studies evaluating the association of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2-receptor antagonists with overt upper gastrointestinal bleeding in patients using anticoagulants. Independent duplicate review, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment were performed. Observational studies were included only if they provided results controlled for at least 2 variables. Meta-analyses were performed using random effects models.

Results: Six observational studies and 1 randomized trial were included. All but 1 study had low risk of bias. None of the studies excluded patients with concomitant aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use. For PPIs, the pooled relative risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding was 0.67 (95% confidence interval 0.61, 0.74) with low statistical heterogeneity (I2 = 15%). Individual studies showed greater treatment effect in patients with higher risk for upper gastrointestinal bleeding (eg, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or aspirin use, elevated bleeding risk score). A single observational study evaluating the association of H2-receptor antagonists with upper gastrointestinal bleeding found a relative risk of 0.69 (95% confidence interval 0.24-2.02).

Conclusions: Evidence drawn mostly from observational studies with low risk of bias demonstrate that PPIs reduce upper gastrointestinal bleeding in patients prescribed oral anticoagulants. The benefit appears to be most clearcut and substantial in patients with elevated risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

Keywords: Meta-analyses; Peptic ulcer disease; Stomach and duodenum; Upper gastrointestinal bleeding.