Inadequate use of proton-pump inhibitors in patients with liver cirrhosis

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Patients with liver cirrhosis have a high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms. The use of antiacid therapy (AAT) in these patients is unexplored. We aimed to assess the use of AAT in cirrhotic patients.


A total of 128 consecutive cirrhotic patients were evaluated for the use of and indications for acid-suppressive agents. Upper endoscopy findings and concomitant medications were registered. A validated questionnaire was used to measure the gastrointestinal symptom burden. Adequate indications for AAT were those strongly supported by the medical literature.


Forty percent (n=51) of patients with cirrhosis were on AAT. Thirty-seven percent (n=19) of these had adequate and 63% (n=32) inadequate indications for AAT. The major inadequate indication was previous variceal bleeding (34%). Patients with inadequate indications for AAT had increased severity of symptoms of indigestion compared with patients without AAT (P<0.05). Multivariate analysis revealed that inadequate use of AAT was independently related only to previous variceal bleeding and the number of concomitant medications.


AAT is used by a large proportion of patients with cirrhosis. In the majority, therapy is based on inadequate indications, mainly continuous long-term therapy after previous variceal bleeding. Patients with an inadequate indication for acid-suppressive medications have increased severity of symptoms of indigestion, indicating that gastrointestinal symptoms might be a factor contributing to proton-pump inhibitor consumption in these patients.

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