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Stress ulcer prophylaxis in non-critically ill patients: a prospective evaluation of current practice in a general surgery department


Nancy Perrottet, Service de Pharmacie BH 04, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, 1011 Lausanne CHUV, Switzerland, E-mail:


Rationale, aims and objectives  There is little evidence regarding the benefit of stress ulcer prophylaxis (SUP) outside a critical care setting. Overprescription of SUP is not devoid of risks. This prospective study aimed to evaluate the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for SUP in a general surgery department.

Method  Data collection was performed prospectively during an 8-week period on patients hospitalized in a general surgery department (58 beds) by pharmacists. Patients with a PPI prescription for the treatment of ulcers, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, oesophagitis or epigastric pain were excluded. Patients admitted twice during the study period were not reincluded. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists guidelines on SUP were used to assess the appropriateness of de novo PPI prescriptions.

Results  Among 255 patients in the study, 138 (54%) received a prophylaxis with PPI, of which 86 (62%) were de novo PPI prescriptions. A total of 129 patients (94%) received esomeprazole (according to the hospital drug policy). The most frequent dosage was at 40 mg once daily. Use of PPI for SUP was evaluated in 67 patients. A total of 53 patients (79%) had no risk factors for SUP. Twelve and two patients had one or two risk factors, respectively. At discharge, PPI prophylaxis was continued in 33% of patients with a de novo PPI prescription.

Conclusions  This study highlights the overuse of PPIs in non-intensive care unit patients and the inappropriate continuation of PPI prescriptions at discharge. Treatment recommendations for SUP are needed to restrict PPI use for justified indications.

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