Antibiotics can prevent stomach bleeding from long-term aspirin use

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A new study suggests that a person’s risk of stomach bleeding from long-term aspirin use can be reduced by taking a short course of antibiotics. Photo by Maridav/Shutterstock

November 3 (UPI) — A person’s risk of gastric bleeding from long-term aspirin use can be reduced by taking a short course of antibiotics, which could potentially improve the safety of aspirin taken to prevent heart attacks or strokes. strokes, suggest the results of a clinical trial.

The use of aspirin is widespread and increasing among elderly patients, the researchers said. The main concern is gastrointestinal bleeding, the prevalence of which may increase due to the increased use of aspirin.

This problem occurs because aspirin, by thinning the blood, causes stomach ulcers to bleed. And these stomach ulcers, also called peptic ulcers, can be caused by a particular type of bacteria: Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori.

The major clinical trial, which was conducted in the UK, was based on evidence that peptic ulcer bleeding in aspirin users mainly occurs in H. pylori-positive people.

The risks for people already on aspirin are low, but become higher when people start long-term aspirin therapy — and that’s when H. pylori research and treatment seems optimal, said the researchers in a press release.

So the investigators investigated whether a short course of antibiotics to eliminate these bacteria would reduce the risk of stomach bleeding in aspirin users.

Results from the Helicobacter pylori Eradication Aspirin Trial, known as HEAT, which studied H pylori-infected individuals taking daily aspirin in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were released on Thursday. in The Lancet.

“Aspirin has many benefits in terms of reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes in those at increased risk. There is also evidence that it is able to slow certain cancers,” said Christopher Hawkey , professor of gastroenterology who led the study. in the release.

“The HEAT trial is the largest study of its kind based in the UK, and we are delighted that the results have shown that bleeding from ulcers can be significantly reduced after a week-long course of antibiotics.”

Hawkey, from the University of Nottingham School of Medicine and Digestive Diseases Center in the UK, Nottingham, described the long-term implications of the study results as “encouraging in terms of safe prescribing”.

The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 1,208 GP practices in the UK, the statement said.

Patients were identified by their physicians and then invited to participate in the study and take an H. pylori breath test.

Those who tested positive were randomized to receive either short-term antibiotic treatment or a placebo. No follow-up visit was necessary. Instead, information was collected from patients’ electronic medical records.

According clinicaltrials.gov, active treatment for the study consisted of seven days of three oral medications: lansoprazole, 30 milligrams twice daily; clarithromycin, 500 mg. twice a day; and metronidazole, 400 mg. twice a day.

In the first 2 1/2 years, people who received the antibiotic treatment were less likely to be admitted to hospital due to peptic ulcer bleeding than those who received placebo tablets, according to the ‘study.

Scientists have found that protection happens quickly. The first hospitalization for peptic ulcer bleeding in people who received placebo tablets occurred after six days, compared to 525 days after antibiotic treatment, according to the release.

Over a longer period, protection appeared to decline, the researchers noted.

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