Differences in utilisation of gastroprotective drugs between 2001 and 2005 in Australia and Nova Scotia, Canada

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This study aimed to compare use of histamine H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), 2001–2005, in the elderly and social security beneficiaries in Australia (AUS) and Nova Scotia, Canada (NS).


Prescription dispensing data were collected for all subsidised H2RAs and PPIs. In AUS, dispensing data for concession beneficiaries were obtained from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme database. In NS, data were sourced from the Pharmacare database. Relevant population data were used to convert to World Health Organisation Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical defined daily doses (2005) per 1000 beneficiaries per day (DDD/1000/day).


Overall use of gastroprotective agents was similar and rising in NS and AUS (100–160 DDD/1000/day) over this 5-year time window. However, the proportion of this use accounted for by PPIs was far higher in AUS (over 85% by 2005) than in NS (23% rising to 35% over the 5 years). In AUS, PPI use rose from 50 to about 140 DDD/1000/day over the 5 years, whereas PPI use in NS rose slowly to less than 60 DDD/1000/day by 2005. H2RA use in NS was always high (over 100 DDD/1000/day), whereas in AUS, H2RA use fell from 54 to around 24 DDD/1000/day over this period.


AUS had much higher use of PPIs than NS over 2001–2005. The proportion of PPIs in all gastroprotective agents rose in AUS to be nearly 90%. The differences in utilisation during this time window could lead to differences in health outcomes from either lower gastro-intestinal bleeding risk or higher long-term adverse effects of PPIs. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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