Thirty clarithromycin-resistant Helicobacter pylori strains (MIC range 8-64 mg/L) were subcultured in a drug-free medium and the MIC was determined every five passages to detect in vitro stability of resistance. Three out of the 30 (10%) lost their resistance after 10, 13 or 18 subcultures (MIC decrease from 8 to 0.008, from 16 to 0. 064 and from 32 to 0.016 mg/L). The effect of four macrolides at subinhibitory concentrations on the development of resistance was studied in H. pylori NCTC 11638 and TIGR 26695. A change in the MIC was observed only when NCTC11638 was exposed to 0.5 x MIC of erythromycin for 20 days.