Am J Ther. 2021 Aug 17. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001439. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Advances in drug therapy for peptic ulcer have had a significant impact on quality of life and work potential of many millions of affected persons and have contributed to a remarkable decrease in the prevalence of the disease, frequency and severity of complications, hospitalizations, and mortality.
STUDY QUESTION: What are the milestones of the changes in the expert approach to the pharmacological management of peptic ulcer in the past century?
STUDY DESIGN: To determine the changes in the experts' approach to the management of peptic ulcer, as presented in a widely used textbook in the United States.
DATA SOURCES: The chapters presenting the management of peptic ulcer in the 26 editions of Cecil Textbook of Medicine published from 1927 through 2020.
RESULTS: Acid neutralization with alkalies was the only pharmacological intervention recommended in the textbooks published from 1927 to 1975. Atropine and other antimuscarinic agents were mainly used to relieve pain and acid secretion according to the paradigm "no acid no ulcer." The shift to the acid suppression paradigm started with the introduction of the histamine-2 receptor antagonist cimetidine in 1979, the proton-pump inhibitor omeprazole in 1988, and the prostaglandin agonist misoprostol in 1992. Finally, the eradication of Helicobacter pylori was codified in 1996.
CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacological management of peptic ulcer has remained archaic well into the 20th century. Fundamental progress occurred in a very short period (1979-1996) and was due to paradigm shifts from acid neutralization to acid suppression and later the recognition of the role of H. pylori infection.