Who is Using Chronic Acid Suppression Therapy and Why?

ArticleinThe American Journal of Gastroenterology 98(1):51-8 · January 2003with17 Reads
Impact Factor: 10.76 · DOI: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2003.07186.x · Source: PubMed

Acid suppression medications have become one of the most commonly prescribed classes of therapeutic agents. Because little data exists describing the chronic use of these agents among a general population, we sought to determine the patterns of use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine type 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) in clinical practice, as well as the distribution and severity of symptoms in patients prescribed these therapies. Pharmacy billing data from two insurers were used to identify all patients on chronic (>90 days) PPIs and H2RAs within a large, eastern Massachusetts provider network. Patient demographics, diagnoses, frequency of office visits, and information about diagnostic testing were obtained from billing databases. A questionnaire addressing recent upper GI symptoms, over-the-counter medication use, and gastroenterologist consultations was mailed to a 1,139 patient subset (35%) of eligible patients. We compared the diagnoses of patients on chronic therapy with those of the general population of the network. We also compared the frequency of symptoms and diagnostic testing between those prescribed H2RAs and PPIs. From a total population of 168,727 adult patients, we identified 4,684 (2.8%) prescribed chronic acid suppression therapy, with 47% taking H2RAs and 57% taking PPIs (4% filled prescriptions for both simultaneously). A relevant GI diagnosis was found using billing data for only 61% of patients, mainly for gastroesophageal reflux disease (38%) and dyspepsia (42%), with many patients carrying both diagnoses. Our survey (response rate 59%) revealed that more than 30% of responders experienced heartburn or reflux more than twice a week, and more than half experienced symptoms of dyspepsia at least once a week. Diagnostic testing was uncommon, with only 19% having undergone esophagogastroduodenoscopy within the prior 2 yr. Acid suppression medications were used chronically by a large number of patients within this population. A significant proportion of patients on chronic PPI or H2RA lacked definitive upper GI diagnoses in their billing data. The high symptom burden and low use of diagnostic testing indicates opportunities for improvement in the care of patients on chronic acid suppression therapy.


    • "Lassen et al. (2004) considered at least 180 daily doses of antisecretory medication (PPI or H2-blocker) per patient per year as longterm use. 3 Jacobson et al. (2003) considered patients on more than 90 days of PPI or H2-blocker as " chronic " use. 4 Goudie et al. (1996) defined long-term antisecretory use as at least 1 repeat (refill) prescription, 6 and Hungin et al. (1999) defined long-term PPI use as at least 1 repeat prescription in the last 12 months. 7 Ryder et al. (1994) considered continuous treatment for 6 months or more. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, a formulary-based approach without beneficiary cost-share incentives is used to limit the pharmacy cost of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). However, the effectiveness of this approach in reducing the cost of PPIs is unknown. To (a) compare cost differences between the formulary PPI (generic omeprazole) and nonformulary PPIs and (b) evaluate reasons for nonformulary PPI use in order to identify opportunities to increase formulary drug use and discourage unnecessary use of nonformulary PPIs. A list of patients with receipt of PPIs from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, was obtained from the Loma Linda VA Healthcare System pharmacy. Subjects with receipt of at least 120 units (capsules or tablets) of any PPI in the study period were considered long-term users. Demographic information was collected. Pharmacy consult records were reviewed to identify reasons for nonformulary use and dosing regimen of the formulary PPI prior to the switch. Cost analysis was done based on the VA contract prices for the drugs at the time of the study. Of 58,605 unique patients seen in this VA health care system in the 12-month period from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, 13,713 (23.4%) received a PPI, and of these, 10,483 (76.4%) received at least 120 PPI units and were defined as long-term users. Of the long-term users, 9,462 (90.3%) were on the formulary PPI generic omeprazole, and 1,021 were nonformulary PPI users. Use of nonformulary PPIs (esomeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole) accounted for 10.5% of the PPI units and 9.7% of the users but 57.3% of total PPI cost. This pattern resulted in $570,263 in excess spending (i.e., $570,263 would have been saved in the study period if the nonformulary PPI users had used the formulary drug). The most common reason for nonformulary long-term PPI use was persistent symptoms (n=901, 88.2%). Adverse reaction was cited by 111 (10.9%) of nonformulary PPI users, 33.3% (n=37) of whom reported diarrhea. Of those who switched to a nonformulary PPI due to persistent symptoms, 363 (40.3%) were on once-daily dosing prior to the switch; 379 (42.1%) were on twice-daily dosing; and 159 (17.6%) were transfers from other places in which prior dosing information was not available in the hospital pharmacy records. One-year PPI use prevalence was 23% in this VA population, and long-term use prevalence was 18%. Nonformulary PPI use accounted for 10.5% of the PPI units and 9.7% of the users but 57.3% of total PPI drug cost. Opportunities to reduce nonformulary PPI use in order to reduce overall expenditures on PPIs include verification of optimal formulary PPI use, titration to twice-daily dosing, and confirmation of adverse reaction as being attributable to PPI use.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Journal of managed care pharmacy: JMCP
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    • "As PPIs are commonly prescribed and continued for protracted periods without clear indications910111213, even a small or uncertain added risk for CAP could translate into many CAP cases. Along with the risks reported from observational studies for other infections, specifically Clostridium difficile infection303132, other enteric infections [33], spontaneous bacterial peritonitis [34], recurrent CAP, and hospital-acquired pneumonia [23], consideration of reasons for starting or continuing PPIs or for alternative gastric acid suppression may be warranted10111213 . Prospective, randomized trials to test these associations would necessarily be prolonged and costly. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Observational studies linking proton pump inhibitor (PPI) exposure with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) have reported either modest or no associations. Accordingly, we studied PPI exposure and CAP in veteran patients, using a retrospective, nested case-control design. From linked pharmacy and administrative databases of the New England Veterans Healthcare System, we identified 71985 outpatients newly prescribed PPIs between 1998 and 2007; 1544 patients met criteria for CAP subsequent to PPI initiation; 15440 controls were matched through risk-set sampling by age and time under observation. Crude and adjusted odds ratios comparing current with past PPI exposures, as well as tests for interactions, were conducted for the entire and stratified samples. Current PPI use associated with CAP (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.29 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.15-1.45]). Risks were not substantially altered by age or year of diagnosis. Dementia (n = 85; P = .062 for interaction) and sedative/tranquilizer use (n = 224; P = .049 for interaction) were likely effect modifiers increasing a PPI-CAP association; conversely, for some chronic medical conditions, PPI-associated CAP risks were reversed. PPI exposures between 1 and 15 days increased CAP risks, compared with longer exposures, but PPI initiation also frequently occurred shortly after CAP diagnoses. Prescribed PPI doses >1 dose/day also increased PPI-associated CAP risks. Among the veterans studied, current compared with past PPI exposures associated modestly with increased risks of CAP. However, our observations that recent treatment initiation and higher PPI doses were associated with greater risks, and the inconsistent PPI-CAP associations between patient subgroups, indicate that further inquiries are needed to separate out coincidental patterns of associations.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
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    • "Some clinically used PPIs include omeprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole. A retrospective medical record study was conducted to determine the pattern of use of PPIs and H2-receptor antagonists in clinical practice [3] and found that 2.8% of patients in a managed care population had prescription records consistent with the chronic use of acid suppression therapy. In that population, 47% were taking H2-receptor antagonists and 57% PPIs. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), widely prescribed to patients with upper gastrointestinal symptoms, alter intragastric pH, and may affect upper gastrointestinal transit and motility parameters in addition to affecting the ability to determine Wireless Motility Capsule (WMC) gastric emptying time. To assess PPI effect on motility parameters of the upper gastrointestinal tract and to determine if PPIs confound ability of WMC to measure gastric emptying time. Twenty healthy subjects were treated with esomeprazole 40 mg bid for 1 week. Another 50 healthy subjects underwent evaluation in absence of PPIs. All subjects underwent WMC test after meal ingestion. After a rapid, sustained luminal pH rise ≥ 0.5 pH units, marking potential gastric emptying time of WMC, an abdominal X-ray (KUB) was taken for gastric emptying time confirmation. Mean pH, pressure and transit time were compared between PPI-treated and untreated groups. There was no difference in gastric emptying time, small bowel transit time (SBTT), or pressure profiles between the groups. The pH in all cases rose ≥ 0.5 pH units. Distal small bowel pH was significantly lower in subjects on PPIs. Gastric emptying time was identified in all subjects treated with PPIs. Pressure and slope criteria were developed to confirm the time of emptying. PPI therapy does not have a significant impact on upper gastrointestinal transit and motility but it does decrease distal small bowel pH. The medication reduced the magnitude of pH change at gastric emptying time but using additional criteria based on slope and contraction frequency, WMC was able to measure gastric emptying time in all patients treated with PPIs.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Digestive Diseases and Sciences
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