Helicobacter pylori treatment and antibiotic susceptibility: results of a five-year audit

Aust N Z J Med. 1999 Aug;29(4):512-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.1999.tb00752.x.


Background: Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment has been a rapidly evolving field. Audit of treatment results provides reassurance that trial data can be translated into routine clinical practice.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively over five years. Patients were given four different treatment regimens over the audit period 'standard' triple therapy, two types of clarithromycin-based treatment or ranitidine, amoxycillin and metronidazole. Eradication was proven by a urea breath test at least four weeks after completing treatment.

Results: Eradication treatment for H. pylori was given to 665 patients; 89% had follow-up data. H. pylori eradication was significantly associated with treatment type (p<0.0001) and smoking (p=0.04) by univariate analysis, but was not associated with sex, age, alcohol consumption, endoscopic diagnosis, recent treatment with anti-secretory drugs or NSAIDs. By logistic regression analysis, only treatment type was significant (p=0.0001). H. pylori culture and sensitivities were available for 255 patients. Metronidazole resistance was shown for 84 isolates (32%) and clarithromycin resistance for 18 isolates (6.8%). Metronidazole resistance was significantly associated with younger age (p=0.02), ethnicity (p=0.02), female sex (p=0.02), and year of endoscopy (p=0.04), but was not associated with clarithromycin resistance. Clarithromycin resistance was not associated with age, sex, or ethnicity. Metronidazole resistance significantly affected H. pylori eradication for regimens containing metronidazole without clarithromycin. Eradication with metronidazole without clarithromycin was achieved in 90% of sensitive strains but only 55% of resistant strains (p<0.001). Metronidazole resistance was not significantly associated with treatment failure when metronidazole was combined with clarithromycin. Eradication with metronidazole and clarithromycin was achieved in 86% of sensitive strains and 78% of resistant strains (p=0.42).

Conclusion: Treatment type and antibiotic susceptibility are the most important determinants of treatment success.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Clarithromycin / pharmacology
  • Clarithromycin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter pylori* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / pharmacology
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Clarithromycin