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Summary

Background

Several drug classes are known to be associated with serious upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB), among others NSAID, low-dose acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), vitamin K antagonists (VKA), clopidogrel and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). There are few data on how and to what extent these drugs are reintroduced in patients who have been discharged after a bleeding episode related to any of them.

Aim

To assess if physicians re-prescribed potential causative drugs after an episode of UGIB and to explore whether drugs with antihaemostatic action (DAHA) are re-prescribed without a gastro-protective agent.

Methods

By use of the Kaplan–Meyer method, we estimated the time from UGIB to re-prescribing for 3652 cases who were all admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of serious upper gastrointestinal bleeding from 1995 to 2006. Data on drug exposure were retrieved from a Danish prescription database, a recent study on drug-related UGIB, and The National Board of Health in Denmark.

Results

One-year rates of re-prescribing after UGIB were; 82%, 25%, 43%, 68%, 55%, 71% for SSRIs, NSAID, low-dose ASA, VKA, clopidogrel and dipyridamol, respectively. However, re-prescribing rates without proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were markedly lower 25%, 3%, 5%, 1%, 17% and 6%, respectively. Non-users of DAHA had a prevalence of PPI use of about 30% a few months after an UGIB.

Conclusions

Drugs with antihaemostatic action are re-prescribed to a large extent after an episode of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, but usually covered by PPIs. This use of PPI is specific for users of drugs with antihaemostatic action.