Many people with long term conditions such as osteoarthritis will be prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve their symptoms. This may be a drug such as Ibuprofen or Diclofenac.
Whilst there may be real benefit from the drug in relieving pain, there are associated risks, particularly with long term use. For example your chances of experiencing a stomach ulcer, heart attack or stroke are significantly increased. A perforated stomach ulcer can be potentially fatal and it is important for patients to be aware of the risks of the medication they are taking.
Often a GP should consider prescribing a drug which helps protect the stomach, at the same time as the NSAID.
You will be at particular risk if you:-
- Have a history of gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion
- Are on a high dose of NSAID
- Are over 65 years old
- Take other medications which may increase your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding such as aspirin
Often prescribing of a stomach protecting drug such as Omeprazole can eliminate the risk of a stomach ulcer which, if left untreated, can be fatal.
NICE guidelines on NSAIDs can be viewed here:- http://www.nice.org.uk/advice/ktt13/resources/non-guidance-nonsteroidal-antiinflammatory-drugs-pdf
Unfortunately we have had several cases involving people who have required admission to hospital or died as a result of complications due to perforated stomach ulcers. Independent experts have confirmed these episodes could have been avoided if the correct medication had been prescribed.
If you or a loved one has suffered significant damage as a result of a failure by your GP or other medical professional please call us and we will be happy to have a no obligation chat with you. Call 0114 2184129 to speak to a member of our Clinical Negligence team.