£100 million a year 'misspent' on dyspepsia scrips

GPs should limit the use of proton pumps inhibitors for the treatment of dyspepsia after research revealed that inappropriate prescribing of the drugs is wasting the NHS £100 million a year.

Overuse of the drugs has also been linked to an increase in the prevalence of pneumonia and a doubling of the risk of infection with Clostridium difficile.

UK research found that prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors have superseded those of all other acid inhibiting agents and now accounts for over 90 per cent of the NHS drug budget for the treatment of dyspepsia.

In 2006, expenditure on the drugs in England reached £425 million. This comes despite NICE guidance, issued in 2000, that states that use of the drugs should be selective in both primary and secondary care.

NICE advises that a full dose proton pump inhibitor should be given for one month for uninvestigated dyspepsia.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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