Since the discovery of Helicobacter pylori, a considerable amount of progress has been made in our understanding of H. pylori-related conditions. However, considerable confusion exists in relation to the optimal application of these findings to clinical practice, particularly at a primary care setting. In the USA the National Institutes of Health published guidelines outlining the role of H. pylori in peptic ulcer disease in 1994. Since then at least eight European countries have issued guidelines. The differences that exist between these documents reflect the rapid evolution of opinion on how the diagnosis and treatment of H. pylori should influence the traditional management of conditions presenting with dyspepsia. It is clear that little controversy surrounds the approach to duodenal and gastric ulceration. Patients with gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma need careful follow-up. The greatest level of disagreement exists in relation to the management of non-ulcer dyspepsia and dyspepsia in the community. These areas, in addition to the role of H. pylori eradication when non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs or long-term acid suppressor are considered, need further evaluation. Most countries now recommend proton pump-based triple therapy regimes as first-line treatment for the eradication of H. pylori.