Significant progress and new insights have been gained in the 4 years since the first Maastricht Consensus Report, necessitating an update of the original guidelines. To achieve this, the European Helicobacter Pylori Study Group organized a meeting of specialists and experts from around the world, representatives from National Gastroenterology Societies and general practitioners from Europe to establish updated guidelines on the current management of Helicobacter pylori infection. The meeting took place on 21-22 September 2000. A "test and treat" approach is recommended in adult patients under the age of 45 years (the age cut-off may vary locally) presenting in primary care with persistent dyspepsia, having excluded those with predominantly gastro-oesophageal reflux disease symptoms, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug users and those with alarm symptoms. Diagnosis of infection should be by urea breath test or stool antigen test. As in the previous guidelines, the eradication of H. pylori is strongly recommended in all patients with peptic ulcer, including those with complications, in those with low-grade gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, in those with atrophic gastritis and following gastric cancer resection. It is also strongly recommended in patients who are first-degree relatives of gastric cancer patients and according to patients' wishes after full consultation. It is advised that H. pylori eradication is considered to be an appropriate option in infected patients with functional dyspepsia, as it leads to long-term symptom improvement in a subset of patients. There was consensus that the eradication of H. pylori is not associated with the development of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in most cases, and does not exacerbate existing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. It was agreed that the eradication of H. pylori prior to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduces the incidence of peptic ulcer, but does not enhance the healing of gastric or duodenal ulcer in patients receiving antisecretory therapy who continue to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Treatment should be thought of as a package which considers first- and second-line eradication therapies together. First-line therapy should be with triple therapy using a proton pump inhibitor or ranitidine bismuth citrate, combined with clarithromycin and amoxicillin or metronidazole. Second-line therapy should use quadruple therapy with a proton pump inhibitor, bismuth, metronidazole and tetracycline. Where bismuth is not available, second-line therapy should be with proton pump inhibitor-based triple therapy. If second-line quadruple therapy fails in primary care, patients should be referred to a specialist. Subsequent failures should be handled on a case-by-case basis by the specialist. In patients with uncomplicated duodenal ulcer, eradication therapy does not need to be followed by further antisecretory treatment. Successful eradication should always be confirmed by urea breath test or an endoscopy-based test if endoscopy is clinically indicated. Stool antigen test is the alternative if urea breath test is not available.