Masking of 13C urea breath test by proton pump inhibitors is dependent on type of medication: comparison between omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Jul 1;20(1):117-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2004.02021.x.


Background: The need to withhold acid suppression therapy while awaiting urea breath test results is a common clinical problem in symptomatic patients. It is unclear at present if the dose or type of proton pump inhibitor or the type of test meal govern the apparent masking effect of proton pump inhibitors on the urea breath test.

Aim: To prospectively evaluate Helicobacter pylori detection rates during treatment with four different proton pump inhibitors, utilizing a high-dose citric acid-based 13C urea breath test.

Methods: Patients positive for Helicobacter pylori by urea breath test were randomized to receive either omeprazole 20 mg/day, pantoprazole 40 mg/day, lansoprazole 30 mg/day or esomeprazole 40 mg/day for 14 days. A repeat breath test was performed on day 14 of treatment.

Results: One hundred and seventy-nine patients, mean age 45.8 +/- 16.8, completed the study. Treatment with omeprazole or pantoprazole prior to urea breath test (UBT) was associated with low false negative results, while lansoprazole and esomeprazole caused clinically unacceptable high false negative rates (pantoprazole 2.2% vs. lansoprazole 16.6%, P = 0.02, vs. esomeprazole 13.6%, P = 0.05; omeprazole 4.1% vs. lansoprazole 16.6%, P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Proton pump inhibitor-induced false negative results on high-dose citric acid based urea breath test vary with the type of proton pump inhibitor used. Selection of the appropriate test meal and proton pump inhibitor may allow symptomatic individuals to continue their proton pump inhibitors prior to performing a urea breath test.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • 2-Pyridinylmethylsulfinylbenzimidazoles
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzimidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Breath Tests
  • Esomeprazole
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / diagnosis
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Lansoprazole
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Omeprazole / analogs & derivatives*
  • Omeprazole / therapeutic use
  • Pantoprazole
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors*
  • Sulfoxides / therapeutic use
  • Urea / analysis*


  • 2-Pyridinylmethylsulfinylbenzimidazoles
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors
  • Sulfoxides
  • Lansoprazole
  • Urea
  • Pantoprazole
  • Omeprazole
  • Esomeprazole