Author(s): Pietzsch M, Theuer S Haase G, Plath F, Keyser M, Riethling AK
OBJECTIVES: Gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers may lead to life-threatening complications. One of the causes is use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). METHODS: All hospital admissions in 1998 to the Departments of Internal Medicine, including the Intensive Care Unit and the Department of Surgery, in 2 hospitals in Rostock were prospectively screened for gastrointestinal bleeding. Whether the bleeding was due to an adverse drug reaction ADR or not was assessed using the rating scale of Begaud et al.  for each drug taken. The risk profile and the drug history of all patients with gastrointestinal bleeding were registered. RESULTS: A total of 58 patients with gastrointestinal bleeding due to NSAIDs were documented. Risk factors for bleeding were cardiac diseases, hypertension, diabetes, age over 60 years, history of ulcer, a Helicobacter pylori infection, smoking and consumption of alcohol together with drugs known to have a risk of causing gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers (antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, corticosteroids). About 70% of these patients had 3 or more risk factors, but only 20% had been receiving effective prophylaxis with a proton pump inhibitor. CONCLUSION: Gastrointestinal problems resulting from the use of NSAIDs are clinically important. It is concluded, that individual risk profiles, as a criterion for the prophylactic use of effective protective drugs, would be helpful in patients management.