Background: Primary and acquired resistance to the antimicrobial agents is a primary reason for the failure of Helicobacter pylori eradication therapies. We assessed the primary antibiotic resistance rates of H. pylori to three different antibiotics and its relationship due to the annual antibiotic consumption in Japan during the period prior to approval of anti-H. pylori therapy in Japan.
Materials and methods: Antibiotic susceptibility was tested using the agar dilution method for clarithromycin, amoxicillin and metronidazole. Isolates were considered resistant when the MIC value was > 8 mg/l for metronidazole, > 1 mg/l for clarithromycin and < 0.5 mg/l for amoxicillin.
Results: Helicobacter pylori isolates were obtained from 593 Japanese patients from 1995 to 2000. Primary resistance of H. pylori to clarithromycin, metronidazole and amoxicillin was found in 11%, 9% and 0.3% strains, respectively. The proportion with clarithromycin resistance significantly increased from 7% in 1997-98 to 15.2% in 1999-2000 (p =.003). During the same period the metronidazole resistance rate also increased from 6.6% in 1997-98 to 12% in 1999-2000 (p =.02). The prevalence of clarithromycin and metronidazole was related to the annual consumption of these antimicrobial agents.
Conclusion: Resistance rates for both clarithromycin and metronidazole appear to reflect the annual consumption of these agents. The high rate of clarithromycin resistance in Japan suggests that the effectiveness of clarithromycin-based therapies may be compromised in the near future.