Pitty the ulcer. If an illness once thought to be a long-term chronic condition was determined to be a curable infectious disease, you’d think it would be cause for major celebration. This is precisely the case with peptic ulcers, yet the good news about a cure has yet to be fully embraced. A media blitz scheduled for this week might help to change perception in the right direction. It's Ulcer Awareness Week, 18-25 September 2000 and this Vidyya contains in-depth information on the subject.
The culprit behind peptic ulcer disease is considered in most circles to be Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium that is found in the gastric mucous layer or adherent to the epithelial lining of the stomach. H. pylori causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers. Before 1982, when this bacterium was discovered, spicy food, acid, stress, and lifestyle were considered the major causes of ulcers.
Only 27% of the general public is aware of the association between H. pylori infection and PUD. While 90% of practitioners are aware of the association only about 50% treat the infection in their patients suffering from the infection. These findings indicate that both the public and professional communities need additional education on the causes and available cures for peptic ulcer disease.
Recently, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials comparing H. pylori eradication with placebo or another drug treatment was undertaken. The results were then incorporated into a Markov model comparing health service costs and benefits of H. pylori eradication with antacid treatment over one year. The results were promising for using the treatment, however, reimbursement remains an issue.
And finally, in non-ulcer related news, an extremely popular treatment for severe acne, Accutane, is facing new restrictions to keep pregnant women from ingesting the drug and causing damage to the developing fetus. Accutane, the second largest seller for drug company Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., has been known to cause birth defects for some time and is already heavily restricted.
The articles in today's Vidyya are:
As always, we hope you enjoy the issue.