Background: The rate of Helicobacter pylori resistance to antibiotics determines the cure rate of treatment regimens containing such antibiotics.
Aims: To review the literature to determine the rates of H pylori resistance to metronidazole and clarithromycin in Canada, and whether these rates vary in different regions of Canada.
Methods: The literature was reviewed extensively for the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant H pylori in Canada by searching MEDLINE from January 1980 to May 1999, as well as abstracts of the American Gastroenterology Association Digestive Disease Week, Canadian Digestive Disease Week and The European H pylori Study Group Meetings from January 1995 to May 1999.
Results: Eleven studies that estimated H pylori resistance to metronidazole resistance and nine that estimated resistance to clarithromycin in Canada were identified. Rates of resistance for metronidazole and clarithromycin varied from 11% to 48% and 0% to 12%, respectively. Studies that obtained their estimates using the E-test and those that did not clearly exclude patients who had undergone previous attempts at H pylori eradication had higher estimates of resistance, accounting for this variability in results.
Conclusions: The prevalence of primary H pylori resistance in Canada appears to be 18% to 22% for metronidazole and less than 4% for clarithromycin. These rates appear to be consistent across the different regions studied in Canada, but many regions have not been studied.