Background: Proton pump inhibitors reduce the risk of peptic ulcer bleeding in patients at risk. The knowledge about the extent of gastroprotection in patients at increased risk and factors associated with prophylactic treatment is limited. Aims: (1) to analyze the extent of gastroprotective undertreatment in patients using aspirin/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and (2) to analyze which patient characteristics are associated with proton pump inhibitor prophylaxis among those at increased ulcer bleeding risk. Methods: A Danish nationwide register-based study. Based on a risk stratification model we identified citizens at increased ulcer bleeding risk and analyzed the proportion concomitantly treated with proton pump inhibitors. Further, we analyzed associations between use of ulcer prophylaxis and comorbidity and socioeconomic characteristics. Results: Some 44.4% of the high-risk patients were concomitantly treated with proton pump inhibitors. In the crude analyses cohabiting, having a high educational level and a high income were significantly associated with lower odds of being treated with proton pump inhibitors. When adjusting for medication use, age, sex and comorbidity the associations were insignificant. Conclusions: There is room for improvement in the extent of ulcer prophylaxis but no clear social gradient in under prescribing of gastroprotection. With the substantial risk-reducing possibility concomitant proton pump inhibitor use could save numerous patients from ulcer bleeding each year. Our study calls for increased awareness of peptic ulcer bleeding risk and dissemination of knowledge to clinicians about risk factors for gastrointestinal hemorrhage and the risk reducing potential of co-prescribing proton pump inhibitors to patients at risk.
- Peptic ulcer prophylaxis
- proton pump inhibitors
- upper gastrointestinal bleeding