The antimicrobial susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori is an important predictor of the success of eradication therapy. To evaluate recent changes in primary antimicrobial resistance of H. pylori isolated from Finnish patients, the clinical records of H. pylori-positive patients referred for endoscopy to Herttoniemi Hospital (Helsinki, Finland) during 2000-2008 were investigated retrospectively. Stored H. pylori strains from 505 patients without previous eradication therapy were tested for clarithromycin, metronidazole, levofloxacin, tetracycline and amoxicillin susceptibility by Etest. Data on local consumption of antimicrobials were collected and correlations between consumption and resistance were calculated. During the 9-year study period, metronidazole resistance was high (range 29-59%, overall 41%). After an initial increase in clarithromycin resistance (0% in 2000 to 16% in 2003), resistance to clarithromycin decreased to 4% in 2008. No significant correlation was detected between consumption of macrolides and resistance of clarithromycin. Resistance to levofloxacin varied between 0% and 12%. Primary metronidazole resistance in H. pylori is at a high level, however levofloxacin and clarithromycin resistances are still at a reasonable level. Thus, primary clarithromycin resistance in H. pylori in Finland has not become such a problem as in many other countries. Primary resistance to the antimicrobials studied varied considerably from year to year.
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