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Senior Health Week: Acid Reflux - Ulcers
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Acid Reflux - Ulcer News:

Heartburn Drug Allows Heart Patients With Ulcers to Take Aspirin

A drug used for the treatment of heartburn allows heart patients with ulcers to take aspirin to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients with heart disease are encouraged to take a baby aspirin every day as a inexpensive and effective means to prevent blood clots but aspirin can irritate the stomach lining and cause bleeding ulcers.

Researchers at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong assessed 123 heart patients who were taken off a daily low-dose of aspirin because of bleeding ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria.

After the patients' ulcers were healed and the H. pylori infection was eliminated, the patients were randomly assigned to treatment with 30 mg of lansoprazole (Prevacid) or a placebo, in addition to 100 mg of aspirin daily, for one year.

During an average follow-up time of 12 months, nine of the 61 patients in the group taking a placebo, as compared with one of the 62 patients in the lansoprazole group, had a recurrence of ulcer complications. Of these 10 patients, four had evidence of a recurrence of H. pylori infection and two had taken nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs before the onset of complications.

Patients in the lansoprazole group were significantly less likely to have a recurrence of their ulcer than patients taking a placebo.

"In patients who had ulcer complications related to the long-term use of low-dose aspirin, treatment with lansoprazole in addition to the eradication of H. pylori infection significantly reduced the rate of recurrence of ulcer complications," concluded the researchers.

Source: Medical Week staff, week of June 30, 2002



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