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Use Of Common, But Potentially Dangerous, Pain Medicines Underreported
edited by Joint-Pain-Forum.com
Patients underreported their use of common but potentially dangerous
over-the-counter pain medications known as NSAIDs, according to research
presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of
Gastroenterology. "This is a serious issue given what we know about the
significant risk of injury and bleeding in the GI tract in patients using
NSAIDs," said David Johnson, M.D., FACG, one of the researchers and President of
the America College of Gastroenterology.
complications such as bleeding, ulceration and perforation can occur with or
without warning symptoms in people who take NSAIDS (non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs.) Ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding are serious
health problems in the United States. With millions taking NSAID pain
medications every day, it is estimated that more than 100,000 Americans are
hospitalized each year and between 15,000 and 20,000 Americans die each year
from ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding linked to NSAID use.
particular concern are patients with arthritic conditions. More than 14 million
such patients consume NSAIDs regularly. Up to 60 percent will have
gastrointestinal side effects related to these drugs and more than 10 percent
will cease recommended medications because of troublesome gastrointestinal
Dr. Johnson and his colleagues at Eastern Virginia Medical
School administered a survey to patients in a private GI practice after a
written and verbally confirmed report of current medications to nursing staff.
Almost one in five respondents to the survey noted use of an NSAID that had not
been reported verbally to nursing staff, including 8 percent who reported daily
use. For 22 percent of respondents, they did not think the medications were
important enough to list, while 30 percent cited the fact that the drugs were
not prescribed by a physician. "This reflects a common misperception that these
medications are insignificant or benign when actually their chronic use,
particularly among the elderly and those with conditions such as arthritis, is
linked to serious and potentially fatal GI injury and bleeding," noted Dr.
Physician experts from the American College of Gastroenterology
warn that patients who take over-the-counter pain medications on a regular basis
should talk with their physician about the potential for ulcers and other GI
Recent research suggests a role for acid suppression
therapy with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for patients at risk of developing
stomach ulcers due to long-term use of NSAIDs. In another study presented at the
American College of Gastroenterology, a VA researcher, Neena S. Abraham, M.D.
looked at the burden of cost from hospitalization for GI bleeding related to
NSAID use, and conducted a cost benefit analysis of using PPIs to help protect
against serious potential injury to the GI tract.
"Our analysis of a
large patient population suggests that it is cost beneficial to administer a
proton pump inhibitor with NSAIDs and points to significant savings in hospital
costs relating to GI injury and bleeding in the Veterans' Administration medical
setting," explained Dr. Abraham.
Dr. Abraham and her colleagues reviewed
prescription records linked to inpatient, outpatient and death files for the VA
medical system and Medicare. In an overall population of almost half a million
veterans, Dr. Abraham identified 3,200 events of GI bleeding, of which 36
percent were treated by the VA. A review of their prescription and
hospitalization records revealed that half of those with GI bleeding events were
hospitalized. Importantly, the one third of patients with GI bleeding events
prescribed a PPI were 60 percent less likely to be hospitalized. Their overall
median total medical costs were significantly lower than patients who were not
prescribed a PPI.
"This reduction in the risk of hospitalization is
where significant savings occur due to lower utilization of health resources,
endoscopy and surgery, not to mention the impact on patients' quality of life,"
explained Dr. Abraham. While there are costs to treat patients on NSAIDs
prophylactically with PPIs, these findings suggest that reduced hospitalization
costs offset higher pharmacy costs.
"These are powerful data, especially
because of the high risk for GI bleeding in elderly patients who are in the
highest risk category for GI bleeding," according to Dr. Abraham.
www.Joint-Pain-Forum.com from original press release.
The American College of Gastroenterology has educational materials available for
consumers that address many important questions relating to the risk of ulcers
and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract relating to NSAID use.
here for more information, consumers may access educational materials
developed by the College on this Web site.
About the American College
Founded in 1932, the American College of
Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of
more than 10,000 individuals from 80 countries. The College is committed to
serving the clinically oriented digestive disease specialist through its
emphasis on scholarly practice, teaching and research. The mission of the
College is to serve the evolving needs of physicians in the delivery of high
quality, scientifically sound, humanistic, ethical, and cost-effective health
care to gastroenterology patients.
The ACG is committed to providing
accurate, unbiased and up-to-date health information. Visit the ACG Web site American College of Gastroenterology
to access educational resources for patients and their families spanning the
broad range of digestive diseases and conditions - both common and
not-so-common. Organized by disease, state and organ system, these educational
materials, developed by ACG physician experts, are offered for the information
and benefit of patients and the public.
Source: Rosanne Riesenman
American College of Gastroenterology
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