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Rising rates of proton pump inhibitor prescribing in US emergency departments

Published:March 24, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2014.03.019

      Abstract

      Objective

      There have been mounting safety concerns over increasing prescription rates for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Trends in PPI use have not been studied in emergency departments (EDs). We characterize trends in PPI use in US EDs.

      Methods

      We used data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey, from 2001 to 2010, focusing on encounters with a reason for visit with a potential indication for a PPI, histamine receptor (H2) blocker, or antacid. Patient, provider, visit, and hospital-level factors associated with increases in PPI use were evaluated.

      Results

      Among included visits, ED PPI prescribing more than doubled from 3.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.4-3.8) to 7.2% (95% CI: 6.3-8.3) from 2001 to 2010. Histamine receptor blocker use decreased from 6.8% (95% CI: 6.0-7.7) to 5.7% (95% CI: 4.9-6.7) and antacids from 7.2% (95% CI: 6.3-8.2) to 5.5% (95% CI: 4.8-6.3). Proton pump inhibitor prescribing was higher in males and whites yet increased across all demographics, including in adults aged 65 years and older. Proton pump inhibitor prescribing increased significantly in all US regions and across all hospital and payer types. Pantoprazole was the agent with the largest increase in use.

      Conclusions

      Over the past decade, there have been considerable increases in PPI prescribing in US EDs. This trend occurred despite rising safety concerns, even in populations at higher risk for adverse events such as older adults. More education may be needed to ensure that ED providers are familiar with indications for PPIs.
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