Patients who are taking omeprazole (Losec UK; Pri-losec-US) for stomach acid suppression are at great risk of developing atrophic gastritis (stomach inflammation) if they also have the helicobacter pylori bug.
An astonishingly high 30 per cent of patients taking the drug went on to suffer atrophic gastritis if they also had the H pylori bug, researchers have discovered.
The drug cannot rid the patient of the bug, and doctors should first be looking to treat it by other means before beginning acid suppression therapy, especially with omeprazole. The onset of atrophic gastritis seems peculiar to omeprazole, because it did not develop in patients taking fundoplication, another stomach acid suppressant, even though they had the H pylori infection.
Researchers from Free University Hospital in Amsterdam tested two separate groups of patients, each being treated for reflux esophagitis (where stomach acid "returns", causing heartburn); 72 were treated with fundoplication, and 105 with omepra zole.
Eighteen of the 59 omeprazole patients who had the H pylori bug went on to suffer atrophic gastritis.