MDs create guidelines to lower heart med reactions

Doctors have created guidelines to help heart disease patients reduce their risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding from antiplatelets and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, both common treatments.

Developed by the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Heart Association, the guidelines advise doctors to assess the patient's risk factors before starting treatment, as well as review the patient's treatment history. Risk factors include age, previous history of ulcers or bleeding, presence of common bacteria that contribute to the development of stomach ulcers and acid reflux symptoms.

"These recommendations represent the collective expertise of leading cardiologists and gastroenterologists, as well as an extensive review of the literature, and provide specialists with practical measures to manage competing risks and help improve patient safety," Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, document co-chair and chief of cardiology at the VA Boston Healthcare System, said in a news release.

- read the Washington Post article for more