From the Journals

PPIs should be used ‘judiciously’ in patients with cirrhosis



Large study suggests limited protective PPI indication

Nancy S. Reau, MD, chair of hepatology at Rush Medical College, Chicago, said that “multiple studies” point to a link between PPI exposure and infection in cirrhosis.

“Although this is a retrospective study, it is very large so we should give credit to the associations,” she said in an interview. She was not involved with the current study.

“The most important message is that we need to be judicious with our therapy,” Dr. Reau added, qualifying that “everything is a risk-benefit ratio.”

“PPI use in cirrhosis has a role but should not overstep its boundary,” she explained. “More simply, if the PPI is indicated, you should not avoid it in a patient with cirrhosis. On the other hand, if you have a patient with advanced liver disease who is chronically taking a PPI, you should question its indication.

Paul Martin, MD, chief of the division of hepatology, University of Miami Health Systems, said in an interview that, when it comes to PPI use in patients with cirrhosis, “judicious is the right word. They should be clearly used if there’s a bona fide indication ... and probably for a finite period of time.”

In a common scenario, “a patient is put on a PPI after they’ve undergone endoscopy with obliteration of varices, and the thought is that PPIs help the ulcers induced by the banding to heal,” said Dr. Martin, who was not associated with the research. “This paper didn’t specifically tease out whether that’s beneficial or not, but it certainly suggests, in patients with a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, that PPIs are still beneficial.”

Dr. Mahmud is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. One coauthor is supported by a National Institutes of Health K23 grant; another is supported by a VA Merit Grant and by a National Cancer Institute R01; a third has received unrelated support from Gilead, Glycotest, and Bayer and also is supported by VA Merit Grants. Dr. Reau and Dr. Martin disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

A version of this article first appeared on


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