It has been suggested that short-term triple therapy comprising a proton pump inhibitor, plus clarithromycin and amoxycillin be used as first choice in treating H. pylori infection, while eradication failure patients should be further treated with a quadruple therapy. Nevertheless, conflicting results have been reported using these treatment regimens in different countries.
A total of 278 patients with H. pylori infection were randomised to receive one-week triple therapy, comprising clarithromycin 500 mg b.d., amoxycillin 1 g b.d., and either omeprazole 20 mg b.d. (OAC; 90 patients), or pantoprazole 40 mg b.d. (PAC; 95 patients), or lansoprazole 30 mg b.d. (LAC; 93 patients). H. pylori infection at entry, and eradication 4-6 weeks after therapy had ended, were assessed by rapid urease test and histology on biopsies from the antrum and the corpus. When eradication did not occur, patients were given a 2-week treatment comprising ranitidine bismuth citrate 400 mg b.d., tetracycline 500 mg t.d.s. and tinidazole 500 mg b.d. (RBTT). Eradication in these patients was assessed 4-6 weeks after conclusion of treatment by a further endoscopy.
Six patients were lost to the follow-up. At the end of the first course of treatment, the overall H. pylori eradication rate was 78% (95% CI: 73-83) and 79% (95% CI: 75-84) at 'intention-to-treat' (ITT) and 'per protocol' (PP) analysis, respectively, without any statistically significant difference between treatment regimens, although a trend for better results with the omeprazole combination was observed. Moreover, H. pylori eradication was achieved in 82% (95% CI: 75-97) (ITT) and 86% (95% CI: 69-94) (PP) of 38 patients re-treated with RBTT regimen.
Our data found that this short-term triple therapy is not a satisfactory treatment (< 80% eradication rate) for H. pylori infection. The 2-week triple therapy used as re-treatment in eradication failure patients yielded more promising results.