Background: Helicobacter pylori eradication for peptic ulcer has been widely taken up. Evidence for the efficacy of different regimens is often derived from small series in clinical trials but there is little reporting of everyday practice with unselected patients. Freedom from ulcer relapse has been demonstrated, but not whether this equates with clinical success.
Methods: We report on a series of 706 patients with H. pylori infection who, between January 1991 and April 1995, received eradication therapy followed by assessment of H. pylori status. Two-hundred and seven of these patients were followed-up by postal questionnaire, validated by parallel questionnaires to their general practitioners, covering clinical outcome measures.
Results: The overall eradication rate was 81.7%, and a 1-week course of omeprazole plus two antibiotics was significantly better than a 2-week course of standard triple therapy (85.0% vs. 78.0%, P < 0.05). Amongst 21 first-time failures, a 7-day course of a clarithromycin-containing triple therapy succeeded in 18. The questionnaire replies indicate that, following successful H. pylori eradication, ulcer patients are less likely to consult with ulcer symptoms (P < 0.0005), take medication (P < 0.0005), require further prescription (P < 0.0005), or lose work-time because of their ulcer (P < 0.005). They are more likely to have a subjective sense of ulcer cure (P < 0.0005).
Conclusions: In addition to clear cost savings, social benefits are now demonstrated when H. pylori is eradicated. A well-tolerated 1 week regimen is genuinely effective in everyday practice.