According to numbers released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there were 259,299 people hospitalized in 1998 for upper gastrointestinal bleeding. In 2006, that number had dropped to 246,297 and nearly half of the patients hospitalized for gastrointestinal bleeding were 65 to 84 years old. The number of hospitalized patients who died also dropped from 20,013 in 1998 to 16,344 in 2006.
The use of medications such as proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics to treat ulcers caused by H. pylori, and the use of COX-2 inhibitors for arthritis pain were reasons that were given for the improved statistics. COX-2 inhibitors, however, have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. While COX-2 inhibitors have improved gastrointestinal tolerability, there are still concerns with their use for certain patients. Celebrex is the only COX-2 inhibitor that remains on the market.
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