Study shows how regular aspirin use can cause stomach bleeding

Nov 05 2022 22:40 IST

Nottingham [UK]Nov. 5 (ANI): The safety of aspirin when used to prevent heart attacks, stroke and possibly some cancers may be improved, according to a recent study, which found that long-term aspirin use may improve the risk of stomach bleeding. be reduced with a short course of antibiotics.
The results of the Helicobacter pylori Eradication Aspirin (HEAT) study, led by Professor Chris Hawkey of the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine and the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Center, and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Health Technology Assessment programme, are published in The Lancet.
Aspirin in low doses is a very useful preventative drug in people at high risk of stroke or heart attack. In rare cases, however, it can cause internal ulcer bleeding.
By thinning the blood, aspirin makes stomach ulcers bleed. These sores can be caused by a certain type of bacteria, helicobacter pylori.
The STAR (Simple Trials for Academic Research) team at the University of Nottingham investigated whether a short course of antibiotics to remove these bacteria would reduce the risk of bleeding in aspirin users.

The HEAT (Helicobacter pylori Eradication Aspirin) study was a very large study conducted in 1208 GP practices in the UK. It was a real-life study using clinical data routinely stored in GP and hospital records, rather than returning patients for follow-up examinations.
The team enrolled 188,875 patients taking aspirin and 30,166 enrolled and participated in the study. Those who tested positive for H. pylori were randomized to receive antibiotics or placebos (dummy tablets) and were followed for up to 7 years.
During the first two and a half years, those who received antibiotic treatment were less likely to be hospitalized for an ulcer than those who received dummy tablets (6 vs 17). Protection came quickly: In those who received placebos (dummy treatment), the first hospitalization for ulcer bleeding occurred at 6 days, compared with 525 days after antibiotic treatment.
Over a longer period of time, the protection seemed to diminish. However, the overall number of hospitalizations for ulcer bleeding was lower than expected and this is consistent with other evidence that ulcer disease is on the decline. The risks for people already taking aspirin are low. The risks are greater when people first start taking aspirin, when looking for H. pylori and treating it is likely worth it.
Professor Chris Hawkey said: “Aspirin has many benefits in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people at risk. There is also evidence that it may slow down certain cancers. The HEAT study is the largest in the UK-based study of its kind, and we are pleased that the findings have shown that ulcer bleeding can be significantly reduced after a week of antibiotics. The long-term implications of the results are encouraging in terms of safe prescribing” (ANI)

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