Antibiotic-resistant H. pylori infection and its treatment

Curr Pharm Des. 2000 Oct;6(15):1537-44. doi: 10.2174/1381612003399077.


Helicobacter pylori infection causes progressive damage to gastric mucosa and results in serious disease such as peptic ulcer disease, MALT lymphoma, or gastric adenocarcinoma in 20% to 30% of patients. The current approach is to make a firm diagnosis, give combination antibiotic and antisecretory therapy, and confirm that the infection has been cured 4 to 6 weeks later. Antimicrobial resistance is largely responsible for treatment failures. Resistance to metronidazole can frequently be overcome by increasing the dose and duration of treatment with acid suppression. Clarithromycin is the most effective antibiotic against H. pylori but, unfortunately, resistance to it is increasing and can not be overcome by increasing the dose or duration of therapy with clarithromycin. The choice of therapy should be based on local susceptibility patterns. Re-treatment regimens for treatment failure should exclude antibiotics where acquired resistance is expected (i.e., clarithromycin and possibly metronidazole). Where available, treatment failure should prompt endoscopy and culture and susceptibility testing. Overall, higher doses and longer durations of treatment result in the best cure rates. When multiple treatment regimens fail, salvage therapy regimens such as bismuth or furazolidone quadruple therapy (a bismuth and tetracycline HCl 4 times a day along with a proton pump inhibitor twice a day, and either metronidazole 400 or 500 mg three times daily or furazolidone 100 mg three times daily for 14 days) can be used. Newer agents are needed to cope with the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance among H. pylori.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Treatment Failure