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Open Access Research article

Decreasing incidence of peptic ulcer complications after the introduction of the proton pump inhibitors, a study of the Swedish population from 1974–2002

Michael Hermansson1*, Anders Ekedahl2, Jonas Ranstam3 and Thomas Zilling4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 Department of Community Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

3 NKO, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

4 Department of Surgery, Varberg Hospital, Sweden

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BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:25  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-25

Published: 20 April 2009



Despite a decreasing incidence of peptic ulcer disease, most previous studies report a stabile incidence of ulcer complications. We wanted to investigate the incidence of peptic ulcer complications in Sweden before and after the introduction of the proton pump inhibitors (PPI) in 1988 and compare these data to the sales of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA).


All cases of gastric and duodenal ulcer complications diagnosed in Sweden from 1974 to 2002 were identified using the National hospital discharge register. Information on sales of ASA/NSAID was obtained from the National prescription survey.


When comparing the time-periods before and after 1988 we found a significantly lower incidence of peptic ulcer complications during the later period for both sexes (p < 0.001). Incidence rates varied from 1.5 to 7.8/100000 inhabitants/year regarding perforated peptic ulcers and from 5.2 to 40.2 regarding peptic ulcer bleeding. The number of sold daily dosages of prescribed NSAID/ASA tripled from 1975 to 2002. The number of prescribed sales to women was higher than to males. Sales of low-dose ASA also increased. The total volume of NSAID and ASA, i.e. over the counter sale and sold on prescription, increased by 28% during the same period.


When comparing the periods before and after the introduction of the proton pump inhibitors we found a significant decrease in the incidence of peptic ulcer complications in the Swedish population after 1988 when PPI were introduced on the market. The cause of this decrease is most likely multifactorial, including smoking habits, NSAID consumption, prevalence of Helicobacter pylori and the introduction of PPI. Sales of prescribed NSAID/ASA increased, especially in middle-aged and elderly women. This fact seems to have had little effect on the incidence of peptic ulcer complications.