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Research Article

Omeprazole versus placebo for acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding: randomised double blind controlled trial.

British Medical Journal 1992; 304 doi: (Published 18 January 1992) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1992;304:143
  1. T. K. Daneshmend,
  2. C. J. Hawkey,
  3. M. J. Langman,
  4. R. F. Logan,
  5. R. G. Long,
  6. R. P. Walt
  1. Department of Therapeutics, University Hospital, Nottingham, England.


    OBJECTIVE--To investigate the possible therapeutic role of omeprazole, a powerful proton pump inhibitor, in unselected patients presenting with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. DESIGN--Double blind placebo controlled parallel group study. Active treatment was omeprazole 80 mg intravenously immediately, then three doses of 40 mg intravenously at eight hourly intervals, then 40 mg orally at 12 hourly intervals. Treatment was started within 12 hours of admission and given for four days or until surgery, discharge, or death. SETTING--The medical wards of University and City Hospitals, Nottingham. SUBJECTS--1147 consecutive patients aged 18 years or more admitted over 40 months with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Mortality from all causes; rate of rebleeding, transfusion requirements, and operation rate; effect of treatment on endoscopic appearances at initial endoscopy. RESULTS--Of 1147 patients included in the intention to treat analysis, 569 received placebo and 578 omeprazole. No significant differences were found between the placebo and omeprazole groups for rates of transfusion (302 (53%) placebo v 298 (52%) omeprazole), rebleeding (100 (18%) v 85 (15%)), operation (63 (11%) v 62 (11%)), and death (30 (5.3%) v 40 (6.9%)). However, there was an unexpected but significant reduction in endoscopic signs of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in patients treated with omeprazole compared with those treated with placebo (236 (45%) placebo v 176 (33%) omeprazole; p less than 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS--Omeprazole failed to reduce mortality, rebleeding, or transfusion requirements, although the reduction in endoscopic signs of bleeding suggests that inhibition of acid may be capable of influencing intragastric bleeding. Our data do not justify the routine use of acid inhibiting drugs in the management of haematemesis and melaena.