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Antibiotic resistance in Helicobacter pylori

Alba, Claudioa,*; Blanco, Anaa,*; Alarcón, Teresaa,b

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: October 2017 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p 489–497
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000396
GASTROINTESTINAL INFECTIONS: Edited by A. Clinton White and Gagandeep Kang

Purpose of review Treatment of Helicobacter pylori is difficult nowadays because of its high resistance. The prevalence and mechanism of resistance, the different methods to detect it and the clinical implication of resistance were addressed in several research papers last year.

Recent findings Clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori has been recognized by the WHO as ‘high priority’, for which new antibiotics are needed. Moreover, the Maastricht consensus recommended, in areas with high resistance, that susceptibility tests should be performed, at least after a treatment failure.

Summary Metronidazole and clarithromycin resistance rates are alarming although they vary among populations. Tetracycline and amoxicillin-resistance are very low in most countries. H. pylori resistance can be detected by phenotypic or by molecular methods. Different break points may be used when performing an antimicrobial susceptibility test, so comparing resistance among different populations is challenging. Genomic techniques open new possibilities in the diagnosis of H. pylori, and the detection of H. pylori and its antimicrobial resistance in faeces is an interesting approach. Eradication rates are dependent on the susceptibility of the strain to metronidazole and clarithromycin, being lower in patients infected with a resistant strain.

aDepartment of Microbiology, Hospital Universitario de La Princesa, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa

bDepartment of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Microbiology, Medical School, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Correspondence to Teresa Alarcón, Department of Microbiology, Hospital de La Princesa, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa, Diego de León 62, 28006 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34 915 202 317; fax: +914021169; e-mail:

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