Background: Ultra-endurance running is emerging as a popular sport in Western industrialised countries. Gastrointestinal bleeding has been reported to be an adverse effect in these runners.
Objective: To see if the oral administration of a proton pump inhibitor would reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding in an ultramarathon.
Methods: In a randomised, double blinded, placebo controlled study, a prophylactic regimen of three days of an oral proton pump inhibitor (pantoprazole 20 mg) was tested in healthy athletes participating in the Spartathlon ultramarathon. The incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding was assessed by a stool guaiac test.
Results: Results were obtained for 70 healthy volunteers. The data for 20 of 35 runners in the intervention group and 17 of 35 runners in the placebo group were entered into the final analysis. At the end of the ultramarathon, two subjects in the intervention group and 12 in the placebo group had positive stool guaiac tests (risk difference 0.86; 95% confidence interval 0.45 to 0.96; p = 0.001).
Conclusion: A short prophylactic regimen of oral proton pump inhibition can successfully decrease the incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding in participants in an ultramarathon.
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Competing interests: none declared
M Thalmann and GH Sodeck contributed equally to this work.
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