BACKGROUND A decrease in the Helicobacter pylori eradication rate after standard triple therapy has been suggested in recent years. AIM To assess the efficacy of standard triple therapy in the eradication of H. pylori through an epidemiological analysis of all published Spanish trials. A secondary aim was to review the prevalence of clarithromycin resistance in Spain. METHODS Articles on H. pylori eradication in Spain published in peer-reviewed journals were identified through MEDLINE searches. Studies that included a triple therapy consisting of any proton pump inhibitor with clarithromycin (500 mg b.d.) and amoxicillin (1 g b.d.) for up to 14 days were selected. Spanish studies evaluating the prevalence of clarithromycin resistance were also reviewed. Meta-analysis was performed using the generic inverse variance method. RESULTS The pooled eradication rates by year from Spanish studies evaluating the efficacy of the standard triple regimen revealed a relatively constant rate over the years. Overall, the analysis of the 32 studies (4727 patients) showed a mean H. pylori cure rate of 80% (95% CI = 77-82%) by intention-to-treat and 83% (81-86%) by per-protocol. When only peptic ulcer disease or 7-day regimens were considered, results were similar. Based on 13 studies (3293 patients), mean clarithromycin resistance rate was 8% (5-10%). CONCLUSION Although a decrease in the H. pylori eradication rate after triple therapy has been suggested in recent years, cure rates with this regimen did not change in Spain between 1997 and 2008. However, this by no means indicates that the efficacy of standard triple therapy in Spain is acceptable, as it has been calculated to be around only 80%. Therefore, it is evident that new strategies to improve first-line treatment are urgently needed.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.