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Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) involves ulceration of the mucosa in the stomach and/or proximal duodenum. The main causes are Helicobacter pylori infection and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use. PUD occurs in 5% to 10% of people worldwide, but rates have decreased by more than half during the past 20 years. This reduction is thought to be because of H pylori management, more conservative use of NSAIDs, and/or widespread use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Common symptoms include postprandial abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. These symptoms have broad overlap with those of other conditions, making clinical diagnosis difficult. Endoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosis, especially in older patients and those with alarm symptoms, but a test-and-treat strategy (noninvasive test for H pylori and treat if positive) can be used for younger patients with no alarm symptoms. Numerous treatment regimens are available, all of which include PPIs plus antibiotics. As an alternative to PPIs, a new triple therapy with vonoprazan (which blocks acid production) plus antibiotics has been approved and appears to be superior to conventional therapy with PPIs plus antibiotics. At least 4 weeks after treatment, repeat testing for H pylori should be obtained to confirm cure. When possible, NSAIDs should be discontinued; when not possible, antisecretory cotherapy should be considered.

Case 2. EH is a 31-year-old patient who comes to your office for follow-up evaluation of chronic epigastric abdominal pain. You had recommended that he take over-the-counter antisecretory drugs, but he does this sporadically because of a preference for not taking medicine. Plus, he says these drugs have not significantly helped his symptoms. He reports no history of tobacco or alcohol use, nausea, vomiting, or hematemesis, although he does report some dark stools in the past month.

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