, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 5-13
Date: 25 Nov 2013

Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors for the Provision of Stress Ulcer Prophylaxis: Clinical and Economic Consequences

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The provision of stress ulcer prophylaxis (SUP) for the prevention of clinically significant bleeding is widely recognized as a crucial component of care in critically ill patients. Nevertheless, SUP is often provided to non-critically ill patients despite a risk for clinically significant bleeding of roughly 0.1 %. The overuse of SUP therefore introduces added risks for adverse drug events and cost, with minimal expected benefit in clinical outcome. Historically, histamine-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) have been the preferred agent for SUP; however, recent data have revealed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) as the most common modality (76 %). There are no high quality randomized controlled trials demonstrating superiority with PPIs compared with H2RAs for the prevention of clinically significant bleeding associated with stress ulcers. In contrast, PPIs have recently been linked to several adverse effects including Clostridium difficile diarrhea and pneumonia. These complications have substantial economic consequences and have a marked impact on the overall cost effectiveness of PPI therapy. Nevertheless, PPI use remains widespread in patients who are at both high and low risk for clinically significant bleeding. This article will describe the utilization of PPIs for SUP and present the clinical and economic consequences linked to their use/overuse.