The association omeprazole/clarithromycin is of current wide use in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori associated gastroduodenal ulcer. This combination may result in increased levels of omeprazole with potential interactions with commonly associated drugs. Kinetic/metabolic changes occurring after omeprazole/clarithromycin were compared to those occurring after pantoprazole/clarithromycin in healthy volunteers. Eight healthy volunteers, all males, age 25-34 years, all EM for CYP2C19, participated in a randomized, double blind crossover study in two periods of 7 days, separated by a 14-day washout. In each treatment period, subjects took either omeprazole 20mg b.i.d. together with clarithromycin 500 mg b.i.d., or pantoprazole 40 mg b.i.d. with the same dose of the antibiotic. The pharmacokinetic parameters of omeprazole and pantoprazole were compared to those after intake of both agents alone. Kinetics of unchanged clarithromycin was evaluated at the end of the two periods. The mean value of the area under the plasma concentration versus time curve (AUC) of unchanged omeprazole increased almost two-fold after concomitant administration of clarithromycin; the average 5-OH-omeprazole AUC was instead significantly reduced by 42%. Omeprazole clearance and volume of distribution were reduced significantly by 75 and 56%, respectively, after administration of the drug with clarithromicyn. No significant changes of the kinetic of pantoprazole and metabolites were observed. Kinetics of clarithromycin did not differ after the two associated treatments. The administration of clarithromycin with two different proton pump inhibitors indicates that the antibiotic can markedly increase omeprazole, not pantoprazole, levels. This observation may result in a better therapeutic response to omeprazole, but it may also potentially affect either the metabolism of CYP3A4 substrates or interfere with the absorption of drugs requiring an intact gastric digestion system.