Aspirin, even at low doses, has been known to cause upper gastro-intestinal complications, such as gastro-duodenal ulcers, despite the definite benefits from its antithrombotic effects. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is major pathogen responsible for gastroduodenal ulcer formation. There have been conflicting results about the potential interaction between these two ulcerogenic factors and the geographic areas involved. In Western countries, the prevalence of gastroduodenal ulcers is consistently higher in H. pylori-positive low-dose aspirin (LDA) users than in H. pylori-negative ones, suggesting that H. pylori infection exacerbates LDA-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in these geographic areas. Meanwhile, previous studies from Japan have generally reported a similar prevalence of LDA-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury regardless of the presence of H. pylori infection, indicating that the infection is not an overall exacerbating factor for drug-induced injury. H. pylori infection could have a synergistic or antagonistic interaction with LDA use in adverse gastroduodenal events depending on gastric acid secretion. It is well-recognized that the net effect of H. pylori infection on gastric acid secretion shows considerable geographic variation at the population level. While gastric acid secretion levels were not decreased and were well-preserved in most patients with H. pylori infection from Western countries, the majority of Japanese patients with H. pylori infection exhibited decreased gastric acid secretion. Such large geographic differences in the net effect of H. pylori infection on gastric acid secretion could be at least partly responsible for the geographically distinct interaction between LDA use and H. pylori infection on adverse gastroduodenal lesions.
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