Purpose. The implications of recent studies for guidelines that pertain to stress ulcer prophylaxis in the postoperative period are discussed. Summary. The therapeutic guidelines on stress ulcer prophylaxis published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) provided clinicians with recommendations regarding appropriate candidates for stress ulcer prophylaxis and selection of a pharmacologic agent. Since these guidelines were published in 1999, additional research has been completed to resolve some of the controversial issues surrounding stress ulcer prophylaxis. The frequency of stress-induced bleeding in recent investigations continues to be highly variable, depending on the definition used to describe bleeding. In general, investigations that evaluate overt bleeding or bleeding without hemodynamic changes or blood transfusion report higher frequencies of bleeding than those that evaluate clinically important bleeding. Similar to that reported in the initial ASHP guidelines, the frequency of clinically important bleeding in recent investigations is low. In addition, the majority of recently published prospective studies and a meta-analysis have been unable to demonstrate a reduction in clinically important bleeding with pharmacologic agents. As a result, some experts have suggested that advances in critical care are more influential in the development of stress-induced bleeding than the use of pharmacologic agents. Recently published investigations support the effectiveness of institution-specific guidelines to help clinicians identify appropriate candidates for stress ulcer prophylaxis. The selection of an optimal pharmacologic agent for stress ulcer prophylaxis continues to be debated. The majority of recent studies have involved the administration of proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). In general, these studies have demonstrated that PPIs are at least as effective as histamine H2-receptor antagonists at increasing gastric pH, but adequately powered studies investigating the endpoint of clinically important bleeding are needed. Similar to the initial ASHP guidelines, the development of institution-specific guidelines is recommended to identify the most appropriate pharmacologic treatment. Conclusion. The frequency of clinically important bleeding reported in recent studies is low. The majority of recently published prospective studies and meta-analyses found little significant reduction in bleeding with pharmacologic prophylaxis.
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
- Gastrointestinal agents
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy