A study of patients on long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment has shown that eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection can substantially reduce the risk of ulcer formation. Treatment with omeprazole triple therapy eradicated 90 per cent of H.pylori infections and reduced the six-month ulcer probability of 34 per cent found in the control group to 12 per cent in the NSAID-treated arthritis patients.
Dr Francis Chan and colleagues recruited 100 arthritis patients who were receiving long-term NSAID treatment to participate in the investigation. The patients were randomly allocated to H.pylori eradication with omeprazole triple therapy or to placebo treatment with omeprazole for one week. The patients continued on NSAID treatment for six months.
Dr Chan's team said that treatment of H.pylori infection could substantially reduce the risk of ulcers in patients commencing long-term NSAID treatment.
Research confirmed H.pylori and NSAID use as independent risk factors for peptic ulcer disease (PUD). The pooled data from 16 studies of 1,625 NSAID users showed that uncomplicated PUD was more than twice as likely in patients positive for H.pylori infection than in those negative for this bacterium. Furthermore, ulcer bleeding risk was increased 1.79-fold by H.pylori infection and 4.85-fold by NSAID use. The combination of H.pylori infection and NSAID use increased this risk further to 6.13-fold.