Background: A quadruple therapy has been generally recommended as rescue regimen for Helicobacter pylori eradication failures.
Aims: To systematically review the efficacy and tolerance of levofloxacin-based rescue regimens, and to conduct a meta-analysis of studies comparing these regimens with quadruple therapy for H. pylori eradication failures.
Methods: Selection of studies -- levofloxacin-based rescue regimens. For the meta-analysis, randomized-controlled trials comparing levofloxacin-based and quadruple regimens. Search strategy -- electronic and manual. Assessment of study quality -- independently by two reviewers. Data synthesis --'intention-to-treat' eradication rate.
Results: Mean eradication rate with levofloxacin-based regimens was 80%. Ten-day regimens were more effective than 7-day combinations (81% vs. 73%; P < 0.01). The meta-analysis showed better results with levofloxacin than with the quadruple combination (81% vs. 70%; OR = 1.80; 95% CI = 0.94-3.46). This difference reached statistical significance and heterogeneity markedly decreased when a single outlier study was excluded or when only high-quality studies were considered. Meta-analysis showed less adverse effects with levofloxacin than with quadruple regimen, both overall (19% vs. 44%; OR = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.16-0.46) and regarding severe adverse effects (0.8% vs. 8.4%; OR = 0.20; 95% CI =0.06-0.67).
Conclusions: After H. pylori eradication failure, levofloxacin-based rescue regimen is more effective and better tolerated than the generally recommended quadruple therapy. A 10-day combination of levofloxacin-amoxicillin-proton pump inhibitor constitutes an encouraging second-line alternative.