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Long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use and the development of gastric pre-malignant lesions

Huan Song, Jianwei Zhu, DongHao Lu
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014 December 2, (12): CD010623
25464111

BACKGROUND: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most effective drugs to reduce gastric acid secretion. PPIs are one of the most commonly prescribed classes of medications worldwide. Apart from short-term application, maintenance therapy with PPIs is recommended and increasingly used in certain diseases, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, especially for people with erosive oesophagitis or Barrett's oesophagus. Although PPIs are generally safe, their efficacy and safety of long-term use remains unclear. The question of whether the long-term use of PPIs could promote the development of gastric pre-malignant lesions has been widely investigated, but results are inconsistent. Limited insight on this problem leads to a dilemma in decision making for long-term PPI prescription.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the development or progression of gastric pre-malignant lesions, such as atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cell hyperplasia, and dysplasia, in people taking long-term (six months or greater) PPI maintenance therapy.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the following databases (from inception to 6 August 2013): the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL. In addition, we searched the reference lists of included trials and contacted experts in the field.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in adults (aged 18 years or greater) concerning the effects of long-term (six months or greater) PPI use on gastric mucosa changes, confirmed by endoscopy or biopsy sampling (or both).

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently performed selection of eligible trials, assessment of trial quality, and data extraction. We calculated odds ratios (OR) for analysis of dichotomous data and mean differences for continuous data, with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

MAIN RESULTS: We included seven trials (1789 participants). Four studies had high risk of bias and the risk of bias in the other three trials was unclear. In addition, it was difficult to assess possible reporting bias. We pooled 1070 participants from four RCTs to evaluate corporal atrophy development revealing an insignificantly increased OR of 1.50 (95% CI 0.59 to 3.80; P value = 0.39; low-quality evidence) for long-term PPI users relative to non-PPI users. In five eligible trials, corporal intestinal metaplasia was assessed among 1408 participants, also with uncertain results (OR 1.46; 95% CI 0.43 to 5.03; P value = 0.55; low-quality evidence). However, by pooling data of 1705 participants from six RCTs, our meta-analysis showed that participants with PPI maintenance treatment were more likely to experience either diffuse (simple) (OR 5.01; 95% CI 1.54 to 16.26; P value = 0.007; very-low-quality evidence) or linear/micronodular (focal) ECL hyperplasia (OR 3.98; 95% CI 1.31 to 12.16; P value = 0.02; low-quality evidence) than controls. No participant showed any dysplastic or neoplastic change in any included studies.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is presently no clear evidence that the long-term use of PPIs can cause or accelerate the progression of corpus gastric atrophy or intestinal metaplasia, although results were imprecise. People with PPI maintenance treatment may have a higher possibility of experiencing either diffuse (simple) or linear/micronodular (focal) ECL cell hyperplasia. However, the clinical importance of this outcome is currently uncertain.

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