Antiplatelet therapy prevents platelets from aggregating and inhibits clot formation. According to the release, these drugs are a widely recognized treatment for patients suffering from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but they also increase the risk of bleeding from pre-existing ulcers, lesions and tissue breaks in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Proton pump inhibitors are a class of drug that reduces production of gastric acid. A reduction in gastric acid production may help alleviate irritation of upper GI sites susceptible to antiplatelet, drug-induced bleeding, but many in the medical community had expressed concern about potential interactions between the two classes of drugs.
The release reports that proton pump inhibitor use is acceptable in patients taking antiplatelet drugs who are at high risk for upper GI bleeding due to peptic ulcer disease, advanced age, H. pylori infection, and use of anticoagulents, steroids or NSAIDs. Patients at low risk for upper GI bleeding, however, are discouraged from taking proton pump inhibitors.