A new class of antiulcer drugs—it is hoped—may be as effective as the histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers) in inhibiting gastric acid secretion.
However, the activity of this new class may go beyond that, according to a series of clinical trials presented at two medical conferences in Portugal— the XII International Congress of Gastroenterology in Lisbon, and a symposium on prostaglandins in the Algarve.
The new drugs are laboratory devised derivatives of naturally occurring prostaglandins. Preliminary indications are that, in addition to inhibiting gastric acid secretions and helping to heal ulcers, they may protect the gastroduodenal mucosa against potential damage from aspirin, alcohol, and other agents. As such, they might be particularly useful in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and for other persons who routinely ingest large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, some of the conference reports suggest. However, larger clinical trials remain to be done, and questions about factors