Objective: The Taiwan Government issued a policy to restrict antimicrobial usage since 2001. We aimed to assess the changes in the antibiotic consumption and the primary resistance of H. pylori after this policy and the impact of virulence factors on resistance.
Methods: The defined daily dose (DDD) of antibiotics was analyzed using the Taiwan National Health Insurance (NHI) research database. H. pylori strains isolated from treatment naïve (N=1395) and failure from prior eradication therapies (N=360) from 9 hospitals between 2000 and 2012 were used for analysis. The minimum inhibitory concentration was determined by agar dilution test. Genotyping for CagA and VacA was determined by PCR method.
Results: The DDD per 1000 persons per day of macrolides reduced from 1.12 in 1997 to 0.19 in 2008, whereas that of fluoroquinolones increased from 0.12 in 1997 to 0.35 in 2008. The primary resistance of amoxicillin, clarithromycin, metronidazole, and tetracycline remained as low as 2.2%, 7.9%, 23.7%, and 1.9% respectively. However, the primary levofloxacin resistance rose from 4.9% in 2000-2007 to 8.3% in 2008-2010 and 13.4% in 2011-2012 (p=0.001). The primary resistance of metronidazole was higher in females than males (33.1% vs. 18.8%, p<0.001), which was probably attributed to the higher consumption of nitroimidazole. Neither CagA nor VacA was associated with antibiotic resistance.
Conclusions: The low primary clarithromycin and metronidazole resistance of H. pylori in Taiwan might be attributed to the reduced consumption of macrolides and nitroimidazole after the national policy to restrict antimicrobial usage. Yet, further strategies are needed to restrict the consumption of fluoroquinolones in the face of rising levofloxacin resistance.