A retrospective study is reported in which the ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) in 269 patients with perforated peptic ulceration and 269 age/sex matched controls admitted between 1973-1982 was compared. A highly significant statistical difference was found (p less than 0.001) in those aged over 65. There was no statistical difference, however, in those aged under 65. Furthermore we have shown a highly statistically significant correlation (p less than 0.0001) between the annual number of patients aged over 65 with perforated peptic ulcers taking NSAID and the annual number of prescriptions issued for these drugs in the region. No such correlation was found for patients aged under 65 years. We suggest that the elderly especially women are unduly susceptible to NSAID associated peptic ulcer perforation, and discuss factors that may account for this.
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