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Helicobacter pylori infection: treatment

Belhoussine-Idrissi, Lila MD; Boedeker, Edgar C. MD

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: January 2002 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 26-33
Gastrointestinal infections

Current standard treatment regimens for Helicobacter pylori infection provide eradication rates 80 to 90%. These rates have been achieved with a variety of 1-week triple therapies using two antibiotics and an acid suppressant. Antibiotic resistance, which may develop during failed treatment, is becoming increasingly common and has led to studies of new regimens for primary therapy, and new strategies for salvage of failed therapy. Other regimens have been designed and tested with the aim of decreasing the cost of initial therapy or to improve compliance, but abbreviated regimens have high incidence of failure and may add to the problem of resistance. Increasing attention has been paid to the need for, and timing of, the determination of antibiotic resistance of H. pylori isolates either at the time of initial diagnosis or after treatment failure. New, simpler, and noninvasive methods are offered for follow-up to determine if eradication has been successful. Treatment regimens should be chosen based on local drug susceptibility patterns and the availability of approved therapeutic agents in each country.

Established indications for testing for H. pylori and administering therapy include active or inactive peptic ulcer disease, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, as well as hyperplastic polyps, hyperplastic gastropathy, postendoscopic resection for gastric malignancy, and acute H. pylori gastritis. It is now largely accepted that noninvestigated dyspepsia is an indication for testing for and treating H. pylori, but that dyspeptic symptoms shown not to be associated with ulcer (nonulcer dyspepsia) do not now provide an indication for testing. Controversial or unresolved indications for testing and treating include planned use of chronic antisecretory therapy, planned use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and use as a general approach to the prevention of gastric cancer.

Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Correspondence to Edgar C. Boedeker, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Center for Vaccine Development HSF 480, 685 W. Baltimore St. Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA; e-mail:

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.