Background: After the approval of health insurance coverage of eradication therapy for Helicobacter pylori-positive peptic ulcer disease (PUD) in 2000, comprehensive coverage for H. pylori infection itself was implemented in 2013.
Methods: We did a literature search using PubMed database on the management of H. pylori infection including indications, regimens, outcomes of current eradication therapies, trends of antibiotic resistance rates and proposed third-line rescue therapy in Japan. We also collected data on changes of eradication rates in our hospital by searching electronic medical records.
Results: After implementation of insurance coverage of eradication therapy for PUD, dramatic reduction of the number patients with PUD as well as spending on ulcer drug was documented. According to the current regulation, proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-based triple therapy with 2 antibiotics, amoxicillin (AMPC) plus clarithromycin, for 7 days is approved as the first-line therapy. After failure of the first-line therapy, PPI plus AMPC and metronidazole is authorized as the second line, which maintains an excellent eradication rate of over 90% in Japan. When these two therapies fail, a sitafloxacin-based therapy seems to be most promising among many rescue regimens.
Conclusion: Comprehensive public health insurance coverage of H. pylori infection will promote eradication in Japanese people infected with H. pylori, whose risk of developing gastric cancer has been shown to be high. It also provides us a unique opportunity to study whether the broader indications can accelerate the reduction of gastric cancer in Japan in the same way we witnessed the reduction of PUD.
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.