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Stomach Relief for People With Chronic Pain

One prescription combines 2 popular drugs

THURSDAY, Nov. 20, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- For people with arthritis and other forms of chronic pain, stomach trouble brought on by frequent use of anti-inflammatory painkillers is always a concern.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just approved the Prevacid NapraPac, which combines the popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Naprosyn with Prevacid, a widely used acid suppressor that can help ward off gastric ulcers.

The package is specifically approved for people with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis who also have a history of gastric ulcer.

Naprosyn, among a class of anti-inflammatories called NSAIDs, is known to cause ulcers by interfering with the stomach's ability to protect itself from irritants such as acid. But in 12-week clinical trials, 80 percent to 93 percent of patients who combined Naprosyn with different doses of Prevacid remained ulcer-free, compared with 51 percent who took Naprosyn alone.

TAP Pharmaceuticals, which produces the combination product, says some 14 million Americans take an NSAID daily. About 100,000 people are hospitalized and up to 20,000 die each year from NSAID-related ulcer complications, the company adds.

For more information about gastric ulcers and risk factors like NSAID use, visit the National Library of Medicine.

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