Background: Triple therapy (proton pump inhibitor, clarithromycin and amoxicillin or an imidazole) is the first-line treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection. However, the effectiveness of triple therapy is decreasing due to the increase in antibiotic resistance. Quadruple therapy (proton pump inhibitor, tetracycline, metronidazole and a bismuth salt) is a very effective regimen even in areas of high prevalence of antibiotic resistance, and may be an alternative first-line treatment.
Aim: To compare triple vs. quadruple therapy for the first-line treatment of H. pylori infection.
Methods: An extensive literature search was performed to identify randomized trials comparing triple vs. quadruple therapy. Selected trials were included in a meta-analysis using Review Manager 4.1.
Results: Four studies met the inclusion criteria. Eradication rates with quadruple therapy were slightly higher in both the intention-to-treat (81% vs. 78%; odds ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-1.14) and per protocol (88% vs. 85%; odds ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.55-1.20) analysis, although the differences were not statistically significant. Nor were there significant differences in compliance or adverse effects between the therapies.
Conclusion: Triple and quadruple therapies seem to be roughly equivalent in terms of effectiveness, compliance and side-effects profile when administered as first-line treatment for H. pylori infection.