Background & aims: The major obstacle to 100% effective eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection is represented by antimicrobial-resistant H. pylori strains. This randomized study was designed to evaluate whether regimens based on pretreatment susceptibility testing were more effective and cost saving compared with standard nonsusceptibility testing-based therapy in the eradication of H. pylori infection.
Methods: We studied 150 consecutive H. pylori-infected dyspeptic subjects. Patients were randomly assigned to omeprazole 20 mg twice daily, clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily, and metronidazole 500 mg twice daily for 7 days or to omeprazole 20 mg twice daily and 2 antimicrobials chosen based on susceptibility testing. H. pylori status was reevaluated 12 weeks after the end of treatment by the (13)C-urea breath test.
Results: Susceptibility testing-based regimens led to the following results. (1) Eradication rates were 97.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 91.2%-99.5%) (71 of 73) and 94.6% (95% CI, 87.6%-98.3%) (71 of 75) in the per-protocol and intention-to-treat analysis, respectively. These were significantly higher (P < 0.005) than eradication rates obtained without susceptibility testing, that is, 79.4% (95% CI, 69.1%-87.6%) (58 of 73) and 77.3% (95% CI, 66.9%-85.7%) (58 of 75) in the per-protocol and intention-to-treat analyses, respectively. (2) There were savings of approximately $5 U.S. per patient compared with standard triple therapy.
Conclusions: Pretreatment antimicrobial susceptibility testing is more effective and cost saving and, in health systems that confirm cost advantage, microbial susceptibility testing should be routinely used for eradication of H. pylori infection.