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Testing for the ‘ulcer bug’ makes daily aspirin safer

Being tested for the bacteria that cause many ulcers and having the infection quashed with antibiotics can prevent ulcers in many people who take daily aspirin for heart protection, suggests a study in Gastroenterology.

Daily low-dose aspirin can prevent a heart attack, but it may also put you at risk for peptic ulcers—sores in the stomach and upper intestine. Two factors that predispose aspirin users to this kind of trouble are a history of ulcers and infection with Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes most peptic ulcers.

Men at risk of peptic ulcers because of aspirin often take an acid-reducing drug, which helps protect the gut lining. But the study suggests an acid-reducer may not always be necessary.

In study participants who had H. pylori, took antibiotics to eradicate it, but did not take a protective acid reducer, the chance of developing bleeding ulcers was low. However, in those who did not have H. pylori, using an acid-reducer prevented ulcers. This suggests that not everyone who takes daily aspirin and is at risk for ulcers needs to take an acid reducer.

Posted by: Dr.Health

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