Background: Because patients who fail to be cured of H. pylori infection following macrolide or imidazole therapy are difficult to treat, there is a clear need for a reasonably effective and simple second-line treatment regimen. The purpose of these two studies was to evaluate the efficacy of ranitidine bismuth citrate (RBC) plus amoxicillin for the cure of H. pylori infection and for healing duodenal ulcers and preventing ulcer relapse.
Materials and methods: Two identically designed randomized, double-blind, double-dummy studies were conducted in patients with an H. pylori-associated duodenal ulcer. Patients were treated with either RBC 400 mg bid for 4 weeks plus amoxicillin 500 mg qid for 2 weeks, RBC 400 mg bid for 4 weeks and placebo qid for 2 weeks, placebo bid for 4 weeks and amoxicillin 500 mg qid for 2 weeks, or placebo bid for 4 weeks and placebo qid for 2 weeks. Patients with healed ulcers after 4 weeks of treatment were eligible for entry into a 24-week observation phase for the assessment of H. pylori status (culture, histology, and CLOtest) and ulcer relapse.
Results: A total of 229 patients with confirmed H. pylori infection at baseline were evaluated. Of these, 132 whose ulcers had healed entered the 24-week posttreatment observation phase. The combination of RBC plus amoxicillin resulted in higher H. pylori cure rates (55%) and higher duodenal ulcer healing (74%) than did either treatment alone. All treatment were well tolerated.
Conclusions: The combination of ranitidine bismuth citrate plus amoxicillin cures H. pylori infection in more than half of the patients treated. This treatment regimen shows promise as the basis for future non-macrolide, non-imidazole triple therapy regimens for curing H. pylori infection. Such regimens may be appropriate second-line treatment for patients who are resistant to or who are unable to tolerate macrolide- or imidazole-containing therapies.