Background: First-line Helicobacter pylori therapy fails in more than 20% of patients. Quadruple therapy is the suggested second-line therapy, but bismuth salts are not anymore available worldwide. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a levofloxacin-amoxycillin triple therapy as a second-line treatment, and the role of primary levofloxacin resistance.
Methods: Forty patients, in whom first treatment with either standard 10-day triple or sequential therapy had failed, received 10-day triple therapy with rabeprazole (20mg b.d.), levofloxacin (250mg b.d.), and amoxycillin (1g b.d.). Cure rates were evaluated by the (13)C-urea breath test. Primary levofloxacin resistance was detected by culture.
Results: Bacterial culture was available in 33 (82.5%) out 40 patients, and primary levofloxacin resistance was detected in 10 (30.3%) patients. Overall, 33 of 40 patients accepted to participate in this study, and all returned for follow-up after therapy. Compliance to the therapy was safe except 1 patient only who stopped earlier the treatment due to side effects (oral candidiasis). H. pylori infection was eradicated in 24 patients, accounting for a 72.7% (95% CI: 57-88) eradication rate at both intention-to-treat and per protocol analyses. The eradication rate was higher in patients harbouring levofloxacin-susceptible than resistant strains (75% versus 33.3%; P=0.074).
Conclusions: The eradication rate achieved by a levofloxacin-based re-treatment seems to be decreasing, and its efficacy is reduced in presence of levofloxacin resistance.