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Study finds GI bleeding rare outside of ICU, regardless of whether or not patients receive medication

December 17, 2015

In their study, the authors examined a large cohort of 79,287 patients admitted to BIDMC between January 2004 and December 2007. Using a research method known as propensity score matching, they were able to control for such factors as age, gender, concurrent medication use and comorbid medical conditions. They found that GI bleeding in non-ICU patients occurred in only .29 percent of admissions.

"While the use of acid suppressive medication was indeed protective -- resulting in a 37 percent reduction in the risk of bleeding -- given the very low incidence of this complication, we determined that 770 patients would need to be treated with acid-suppressive medication to prevent a single episode of GI bleeding," Herzig explains.

"We know from other studies that the initiation of acid-suppressive medications also carries with it the risks of inappropriate continuation at the time of hospital discharge and the risks of drug-drug interactions," she adds. "Our findings lend further support to existing guidelines that suggest that acid-suppressive medications should not be used to prevent nosocomial bleeding in hospital patients outside the ICU. We hope that this research will help to further curb the inappropriate use of this class of medications."

Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center