Rescue Therapy for Helicobacter pylori Infection 2012

Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2012;2012:974594. doi: 10.1155/2012/974594. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


Helicobacter pylori infection is the main cause of gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer disease, and gastric cancer. After 30 years of experience in H. pylori treatment, however, the ideal regimen to treat this infection has still to be found. Nowadays, apart from having to know well first-line eradication regimens, we must also be prepared to face treatment failures. In designing a treatment strategy, we should not only focus on the results of primary therapy alone but also on the final-overall-eradication rate. The choice of a "rescue" treatment depends on which treatment is used initially. If a first-line clarithromycin-based regimen was used, a second-line metronidazole-based treatment (quadruple therapy) may be used afterwards, and then a levofloxacin-based combination would be a third-line "rescue" option. Alternatively, it has recently been suggested that levofloxacin-based "rescue" therapy constitutes an encouraging 2nd-line strategy, representing an alternative to quadruple therapy in patients with previous PPI-clarithromycin-amoxicillin failure, with the advantage of efficacy, simplicity and safety. In this case, quadruple regimen may be reserved as a 3rd-line "rescue" option. Even after two consecutive failures, several studies have demonstrated that H. pylori eradication can finally be achieved in almost all patients if several "rescue" therapies are consecutively given.