alexa Second-line rescue therapy of helicobacter pylori infection


Clinical Microbiology: Open Access

Author(s): Javier P Gisbert

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Helicobacter pylori infection is the main known cause of gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer disease and gastric cancer. After more than 20 years of experience in H. pylori treatment, however, the ideal regimen to treat this infection has still to be found. Nowadays, apart from having to know well first-line eradication regimens, we must also be prepared to face treatment failures. Therefore, in designing a treatment strategy we should not focus on the results of primary therapy alone, but also on the final (overall) eradication rate. The choice of a 'rescue' treatment depends on which treatment is used initially. If a first-line clarithromycin-based regimen was used, a second-line metronidazole-based treatment (quadruple therapy) may be used afterwards, and then a levofloxacin-based combination would be a third-line 'rescue' option. Alternatively, it has recently been suggested that levofloxacin-based 'rescue' therapy constitutes an encouraging second-line strategy, representing an alternative to quadruple therapy in patients with previous PPI-clarithromycin-amoxicillin failure, with the advantage of efficacy, simplicity and safety. In this case, quadruple regimen may be reserved as a third-line 'rescue' option. Finally, rifabutin-based 'rescue' therapy constitutes an encouraging empirical fourth-line strategy after multiple previous eradication failures with key antibiotics such as amoxicillin, clarithromycin, metronidazole, tetracycline, and levofloxacin. Even after two consecutive failures, several studies have demonstrated that H. pylori eradication can finally be achieved in almost all patients if several 'rescue' therapies are consecutively given. Therefore, the attitude in H. pylori eradication therapy failure, even after two or more unsuccessful attempts, should be to fight and not to surrender.

This article was published in Therap Adv Gastroenterol. and referenced in Clinical Microbiology: Open Access

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