Indications for the use of parenteral H2-receptor antagonists

J. C. Thompson, J. P. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Development of acute mucosal ulceration is a complex series of catabolic interactions. Hospitalized patients with duodenal or gastric ulcer, pathologic gastric hypersecretory states (such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome), gastric outlet obstruction, esophagitis, severe gastritis or duodenitis, sepsis, trauma (particularly head injury or burns), and some patients receiving high-dose corticosteroids are at risk of developing acute stress ulcers. Treatment should be initiated as soon as the patient is identified as being at risk, because measures designed to prevent bleeding once it supervenes and the cascade of multiple organ failure commences. The presence of acid will trigger the onset of this condition; however, ulceration will not occur if the intraluminal pH can be maintained above 5 by periodic antacid treatment or by H2-receptor blockade. The dosing regimen of antacid or of H2-receptor antagonist should be fixed, but should be sufficient to keep the gastric pH higher than 5. Antagonists administered via a nasogastric tube are the first line of defense, but 30 to 50 percent of the most ill patients will also be treated parenterally with H2-receptor antagonists. Parenteral H2-receptor blockade therapy is indicated in these patients when the risk of acute or continued ulceration of esophageal, gastric, or duodenal mucosa is high and the oral administration of medication is either not possible or the response to such therapy is unreliable. Parenteral H2-receptor antagonists are rarely administered alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-115
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number5 B
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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