Objectives In recent years, policies have been proposed in order to guide the safer use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antiulcer therapy. We aimed to investigate the incidence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) before and after the introduction of these policies, 2007–2009, in a well-defined population in southwest Scotland.
Methods All patients with non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NV-UGIB), diagnosed at a single regional unit, were included. Total drugs prescribed in our population were noted, including antiulcer drugs, antithrombotic drugs and both cyclo-oxygenase-2 enzyme-selective and non-selective inhibiting NSAIDs.
Results The incidence, the number of cases per 100 000 population per annum, of NV-UGIB fell from 134.7 in 2007 to 125.1 in 2008, and to 90.3 cases in 2009 (p<0.001). There was also a significant rise in the use of non-selective NSAIDs, proton pump inhibitors and antithrombotic drugs.
Conclusions Although a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be fully proven, physician education through drug-use policies is associated with a drop in the incidence of NV-UGIB. This is relevant to the prevention of this common condition.
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