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Infection Risk with PPIs in Patients with Cirrhosis

March 29, 2018

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are overprescribed to patients with cirrhosis and actually increase their risk of bacterial infections, according to a study recently published in The Archives of Gastroenterology (doi: 10.1590/S0004-2803.201800000-09).

Researchers conducted the observational retrospective study to gauge the impact of PPIs on patients with cirrhosis, who are frequently prescribed the acid-blocking heartburn medications. Among 113 patients, medical records showed 39% used PPIs chronically—yet 63.6% of patients with chronic PPI use had no clear indication to justify a PPI prescription, researchers found.

During a 3-year follow-up period, 21.1% developed bacterial infections. Chronic use of PPIs was linked with infection development, adjusted multivariate analysis showed.

“There is an over-prescription of PPIs without a justified clinical indication,” the researchers concluded. “The long-term consumption of PPIs in patients with cirrhosis is associated with the development of bacterial infections; therefore, these drugs must be carefully prescribed in this specific population.”

Jolynn Tumolo

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