Brugmann University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium.
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The annual incidence of peptic ulcer disease in developed countries is around one to three per thousand inhabitants. Since the introduction of acid-secretion inhibitors, the indirect costs of this disease, which has a high rate of relapse, have steadily decreased, although direct costs have been increasing. The possibility of healing the patient through Helicobacter pylori eradication has the potential for a huge economic impact considering the long-term cost: benefit ratio. A recent study has shown that H. pylori eradication therapy can save between US$750,000 and US$1,000,000 per year per million inhabitants in western Europe compared to maintenance or episodic therapy. This paper reviews the cost implications of various management strategies for peptic ulcer disease, comparing the cost: benefit ratios of five different treatment regimens.
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