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Patient education regarding causes, risk factors, and therapy of peptic ulcer disease is very essential for ulcer healing and for preventing ulcer recurrence. In this article, I'm focusing on 4 key points on peptic ulcer disease (PUD) patient education. The aim of this post is to help healthcare professionals who deliver (PUD) patient education to be prepared with the required knowledge, and so to "be informative" for their patients.
1- Set treatment goals in participation with the patient.
The main treatment goals for peptic ulcer diseases are:
- Relief of ulcer pain
- Healing of ulcer
- Preventing ulcer recurrence
- Preventing complication
- The patient should at least understand the importance of each of the previous goals.
2- Identify and modify risk factors.
This is achieved by: first, taking patient history regarding:
- presence of other illnesses,
- patient medication history; especially use of OTC drugs as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and use of corticosteroids, and
- lifestyle habits including diet, alcohol and cigarette smoking.
Then, helping the patient to modify these risk factors.
For example, modifying NSAIDs administration for peptic ulcer disease patients who are in need for NSAIDs. Another example, offering advice regarding foods and drinks to avoid by peptic ulcer patients.
3- Encourage proper medication use.
- encourage compliance to the specified regimens (whether it is Helicobacter pylori eradication regimen, proton pump inhibitor PPI therapy,... etc.) and educate the patient about PUD potential complications (bleeding ulcer - perforation of stomach or duodenum - gastric outlet obstruction) that might occur if these regimens are not followed properly. And make sure that the patient understands when to administer the medications. For example, PPIs should be administered 15-30 minutes before meals.
- Identify potential drug - drug interactions by referring to patient medication history. Among PUD medications that may cause drug interactions are proton pump inhibitors and H2-receptor blockers.
- Educate the patient about possible side effects that may make him/her stop taking the medications and how to overcome these side effects. For example, misoprostol that is used to protect the mucosa in chronic NSAID users, causes gastrointestinal effects (eg, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea). And to overcome these side effects, the patient should be instructed to decrease misoprostole dose & take it with meals.
4- Always remember that good communication with the patient improves disease management.
These are the points that I found most critical in educating peptic ulcer diseases patients. You might have other ideas regarding this topic so, please let me know them. To know more about peptic ulcer disease, please visit Peptic Ulcer Disease Concept Map.