, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 318-325
Date: 17 Nov 2006

Use of gastroprotective agents in recommended doses in hospitalized patients receiving NSAIDs: a drug utilization study

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In recent years, studies investigated to what extend recommendations for co-prescribing gastroprotective agents in prevention of NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications are followed in clinical practice. However, only a few studies have also taken into consideration the recommended dose of gastroprotectives prescribed in NSAID-induced ulcer prophylaxis. The aim of our study was to evaluate the prevalence of concomitant use of gastroprotectives with NSAIDs in hospitalized patients, with emphasis on the recommended dose of gastroprotectives for ulcer prophylaxis.


This observational, cross-sectional, drug utilization study included all adult patients receiving NSAIDs hospitalized in the Clinical Hospital Center Zagreb on the day of the study. Data on age, sex, comorbidities, indications for NSAID use, type/dose of NSAIDs and gastroprotectives, history of gastrointestinal events, active gastrointestinal symptoms and risk factors were evaluated.

Main outcome measure

Study outcomes were: (1) prevalence of prescription of gastroprotectives among NSAID-users at risk; (2) prevalence of prescription of gastroprotective in recommended dose; (3) association between risk factors and prescription of GPAs.


The rates of gastroprotectives prescription were significantly higher in NSAID-users with concomitant risk factors as compared to patients without risk factors [47/70 (67.1%) and 8/22 (36.4%), respectively; p = 0.01072]. However, gastroprotection in recommended ulcer-preventive dose was low in both groups [8/70 (11.4%) and 9/92 (9.8%), respectively]. The number of concomitant risk factors did not increase the odds of receiving anti-ulcer therapy (odds ratio 0.7279). Thirty-three percent of patients with concomitant risk factors were not prescribed gastroprotectives. Ibuprofen, NSAID with the lowest risk of inducing gastrointestinal complications, was prescribed in only two patients.


The results indicate high awareness among hospital physicians about possible NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications, but insufficient knowledge about risk factors related to NSAID-induced gastrointestinal toxicity, recommended dose of gastroprotectives in NSAID-induced ulcer prophylaxis and gastrointestinal toxicity of different types of NSAIDs.