Background : Proton-pump inhibitors reduce re-bleeding rates after ulcer bleeding. However, there is significant heterogeneity among different randomized-controlled trials.
Aim : To see whether proton-pump inhibitors for ulcer bleeding produced different clinical outcomes in different geographical locations.
Methods : This was a post hoc analysis of our Cochrane Collaboration systematic review and meta-analysis of proton-pump inhibitor therapy for ulcer bleeding. Sixteen randomized-controlled trials conducted in Europe and North America were pooled and re-analysed separately from seven conducted in Asia. We calculated pooled rates for 30-day all-cause mortality, re-bleeding and surgical intervention and derived odds ratios and numbers needed to treat with 95% confidence intervals.
Results : There was no significant heterogeneity for any outcome. Reduced all-cause mortality was seen in the Asian randomized-controlled trials (odds ratios = 0.35; 95% confidence interval: 0.16–0.74; number needed to treat = 33), but not in the others (odds ratios = 1.36; 95% confidence interval: 0.94–1.96; number needed to treat – incalculable). There were significant reductions in re-bleeding and surgery in both sets of randomized-controlled trials, but the effects were quantitatively greater in Asia.
Conclusions : Proton-pump inhibitor therapy for ulcer bleeding has been more efficacious in Asia than elsewhere. This may be because of an enhanced pharmacodynamic effect of proton-pump inhibitors in Asian patients.