MONDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- The H2-receptor agonist famotidine prevents gastric and duodenal ulcers, as well as erosive esophagitis, in patients taking low-dose aspirin, according to a study published online July 6 in The Lancet.
Ali S. Taha, M.D., of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a study of 404 adult patients attending cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and diabetes clinics, who were taking 75 to 325 mg/day of aspirin and who did not have ulcers or erosive esophagitis at baseline, of whom 204 were randomized to receive 20 mg of famotidine twice daily, while 200 were given placebo.
After 12 weeks of treatment, seven (3.4 percent) of the famotidine patients developed gastric ulcers, compared to 30 (15.0 percent) of the control group, the investigators found. Duodenal ulcers had developed in 0.5 percent of the treatment group versus 8.5 percent in the control group. Similarly, 4.4 percent of the treatment group and 19.0 percent of the control group were diagnosed with erosive esophagitis, the researchers discovered, and the patients in the treatment group had fewer adverse events.
"There is little doubt that aspirin and other anti-clotting drugs are very useful in the prevention of heart, brain, and other vascular diseases," the authors said in a statement. "However, everybody should be aware that aspirin use can also be associated with a variety of gastrointestinal or digestive system problems, which sometimes can be serious. The results of this research widen the options for the prevention of such problems."
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