Eradicating Helicobacter pylori continues to be a challenge, and no treatment regimen is uniformly successful in all treated patients. Triple therapy with rifabutin and amoxicillin is a successful rescue therapy after consecutive treatment failures. We designed this study to test the efficacy of 12-day rifabutin-based triple therapy in patients infected with multidrug-resistant strains.
Consecutive patients with dyspeptic symptoms after at least 1 antibiotic therapy course for H. pylori infection harboring triple-resistant (clarithromycin, metronidazole, levofloxacin) strains were enrolled. They received triple therapy with esomeprazole 40 mg bid, amoxicillin 1 g bid, and rifabutin 150 mg od for 12 days. Patients who failed rifabutin therapy were treated empirically on the basis of the judgment of the treating physician.
A total of 254 out of 756 tested patients were found to be infected with a triple-resistant H. pylori strains after at least 1 antibiotic therapy course. Overall, the infection was eradicated in 213 patients, corresponding to a cure rate of 82.9% (95% CI, 78.3-87.5) by intention-to-treat analysis and 88.7% (95% CI, 84.7-92.7) at per-protocol analysis. In multivariate analysis, no factor was identified as an independent predictor of bacterial eradication.
There is no current standard for the growing population of patients with multidrug-resistant strains of H. pylori. The 12-day low-dose rifabutin/high-dose proton pump inhibitor regimen is a safe and reliable option for patients infected with triple-resistant strains.