Second Asia-Pacific Consensus Guidelines for Helicobacter pylori infection

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Abstract
The Asia-Pacific Consensus Conference was convened to review and synthesize the most current information on Helicobacter pylori management so as to update the previously published regional guidelines. The group recognized that in addition to long-established indications, such as peptic ulcer disease, early mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) type lymphoma and family history of gastric cancer, H. pylori eradication was also indicated for H. pylori infected patients with functional dyspepsia, in those receiving long-term maintenance proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for gastroesophageal reflux disease, and in cases of unexplained iron deficiency anemia or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. In addition, a population 'test and treat' strategy for H. pylori infection in communities with high incidence of gastric cancer was considered to be an effective strategy for gastric cancer prevention. It was recommended that H. pylori infection should be tested for and eradicated prior to long-term aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy in patients at high risk for ulcers and ulcer-related complications. In Asia, the currently recommended first-line therapy for H. pylori infection is PPI-based triple therapy with amoxicillin/metronidazole and clarithromycin for 7 days, while bismuth-based quadruple therapy is an effective alternative. There appears to be an increasing rate of resistance to clarithromycin and metronidazole in parts of Asia, leading to reduced efficacy of PPI-based triple therapy. There are insufficient data to recommend sequential therapy as an alternative first-line therapy in Asia. Salvage therapies that can be used include: (i) standard triple therapy that has not been previously used; (ii) bismuth-based quadruple therapy; (iii) levofloxacin-based triple therapy; and (iv) rifabutin-based triple therapy. Both CYP2C19 genetic polymorphisms and cigarette smoking can influence future H. pylori eradication rates.

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Available from: Peter Katelaris
SPECIAL ARTICLEjgh_59821587..1600
Second Asia–Pacific Consensus Guidelines for Helicobacter
pylori infection
K Ming Fock,* Peter Katelaris,Kentaro Sugano,Tiing Leong Ang,* Richard Hunt,§Nicholas J Talley,
Shiu Kum Lam,** Shu-Dong Xiao,†† Huck Joo Tan,‡‡ Chun-Ying Wu,§§ Hyun Chae Jung,¶¶
Bui Huu Hoang,*** Udom Kachintorn,††† Khean-Lee Goh,‡‡‡ Tsutomu Chiba§§§ and Abdul Aziz Rani¶¶¶
*Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Changi General Hospital, Singapore; Concord Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney,
Australia; Jichi Medical University, Tochigi-ken, Japan; §McMaster University Medical Center, Ontario, Canada; Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine,
Rochester, New York, USA **University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; ††Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine,
Shanghai, China; ‡‡Sunway Medical Center, Selangor, Malaysia; §§Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; ¶¶Seoul National
University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; ***University Medical Center of Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; †††Siriraj Hospital,
Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; ‡‡‡University of Malaya Medical Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; §§§Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan;
¶¶¶University of Indonesia Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Indonesia
Abstract
The Asia–Pacific Consensus Conference was convened to review and synthesize the most
current information on Helicobacter pylori management so as to update the previously
published regional guidelines. The group recognized that in addition to long-established
indications, such as peptic ulcer disease, early mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)
type lymphoma and family history of gastric cancer, H. pylori eradication was also indicated
for H. pylori infected patients with functional dyspepsia, in those receiving long-term
maintenance proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for gastroesophageal reflux disease, and in cases of
unexplained iron deficiency anemia or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. In addition, a
population ‘test and treat’ strategy for H. pylori infection in communities with high incidence
of gastric cancer was considered to be an effective strategy for gastric cancer prevention. It
was recommended that H. pylori infection should be tested for and eradicated prior to
long-term aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy in patients at high risk for
ulcers and ulcer-related complications. In Asia, the currently recommended first-line therapy
for H. pylori infection is PPI-based triple therapy with amoxicillin/metronidazole and
clarithromycin for 7 days, while bismuth-based quadruple therapy is an effective alternative.
There appears to be an increasing rate of resistance to clarithromycin and metronidazole in
parts of Asia, leading to reduced efficacy of PPI-based triple therapy. There are insufficient
data to recommend sequential therapy as an alternative first-line therapy in Asia. Salvage
therapies that can be used include: (i) standard triple therapy that has not been previously
used; (ii) bismuth-based quadruple therapy; (iii) levofloxacin-based triple therapy; and (iv)
rifabutin-based triple therapy. Both CYP2C19 genetic polymorphisms and cigarette
smoking can influence future H. pylori eradication rates.
Key words
helicobacter pylori:diagnosis, helicobacter
pylori:treatment and antimicrobial resistance,
H. pylori and gastric cancer.
Accepted for publication 26 May 2009.
Correspondence
Professor Kwong Ming Fock, Changi General
Hospital, Division of Gastroenterology,
Department of Medicine, Changi General
Hospital, 2 Simei Street 3, Singapore 529
889. Email: kwong_ming_fock@cgh.com.sg
Introduction
Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common human infections
worldwide. It is clinically important because of the etiological
association with gastroduodenal disease, particularly peptic ulcer
disease and gastric malignancies. The first Asia–Pacific H. pylori
Consensus Conference was held in Singapore in August 1997, and
published in 1998.1Since then, new scientific information con-
cerning the management of H. pylori infection has become avail-
able, and updates of the management guidelines and consensus
statements from North America2,3 and Europe4,5 have been pub-
lished in recent years. A review of the initial Asia–Pacific Consen-
sus Statements was felt to be timely, and a Consensus Conference
was convened to review and synthesize the most current informa-
tion on H. pylori management in the region.
Methods
Nature and extent of background preparation
The Asia–Pacific H. pylori Consensus Conference was convened
specifically to address two main areas: (i) changing epidemiology
and indications for treatment of H. pylori infection since the last
consensus; and (ii) treatment of H. pylori infection.
The consensus conference was held on 14–15 June 2008 in
Bangkok, Thailand and was sponsored by the Asia–Pacific Asso-
ciation of Gastroenterology (APAGE). The Journal of Gastroen-
terology and Hepatology Foundation (JGHF) provided financial
support through an unrestricted educational grant. Eighteen gas-
troenterologists from the Asia–Pacific region and two external
experts were invited to participate on the basis of their expertise
doi:10.1111/j.1440-1746.2009.05982.x
1587Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 24 (2009) 1587–1600
Journal compilation © 2009 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
(Appendix). Participants were not remunerated for their involve-
ment in the meeting.
Prior to the conference, relevant areas were identified and
selected relevant papers were circulated. At the conference, an
overview of each area, based on comprehensive published work
searches, was presented by selected participants with specific
expertise. This was followed by a period of discussion, in which
the existing data were evaluated and critiqued. Thereafter, a
statement of recommendation was formulated. For all data
related to treatment and some data related to epidemiology and
indications, the level of evidence and the classification of
evidence relative to the recommendation were assessed. Formal
voting for each statement was undertaken and the acceptance of
a statement was based on agreement of at least two-thirds of the
votes (Table 1).
Preparation process and format of the report
The manuscript was drafted by a working group, and this was then
circulated to and reviewed by all conference participants, all of
whom approved the final draft.
Consensus statements
Each statement is followed by a brief summary, in which the
quality of supporting evidence, a classification of the recommen-
dation and the results of voting are presented and discussed.
Consensus statements
I: Epidemiology and indications for treatment
of H. pylori infection (Table 2)
Statement 1: The prevalence of H. pylori infection has
been declining in the Asia–Pacific Region.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: III
This was agreed upon with significant qualification. The Asia–
Pacific is a vast and heterogeneous region and within it the preva-
lence of H. pylori infection varies both between and within
countries.1This relates to the known determinants of infection,
particularly socioeconomic standards of living. Within the region
there are countries with a high prevalence of infection and others
where the prevalence is considered intermediate.6,7 In countries
where there has been rapid economic development with associated
improvements in standards of living, there is some evidence that
the prevalence of infection is declining.8,9 However, there are few
longitudinal community prevalence surveys and many reports
derive from single center audits of secondary and tertiary centers.8
As referral patterns for H. pylori treatment have changed in the last
decade, with more treatment being conducted in primary care,
these data are subject to significant potential bias. Moreover, there
is likely to be publication bias in the published work as prevalence
reports are more common from more developed countries. None-
theless, in parts of the Asia–Pacific region (and elsewhere) a
declining prevalence of infection is considered a real phenomenon.
However, there is heterogeneity of infection rates even within
more developed countries, with well-defined high-risk groups.
These groups include the elderly, those who live in poorer condi-
tions, migrants from high prevalence areas, the institutionalized
and possibly rural dwellers in some areas.
Most acquisition of infection occurs in childhood.3In countries
where improved socioeconomic conditions over recent genera-
Table 1 Level of evidence, classification of recommendations and
voting scheme
Quality of evidence
Ia. Evidence obtained from meta-analysis of randomized trials.
Ib. Evidence obtained from at least one randomized controlled trial.
IIa. Evidence obtained from at least well-designed controlled study,
without randomization.
IIb. Evidence obtained from at least one other type of well designed
quasi-experimental study.
III. Evidence obtained from well-designed non-experimental
descriptive studies, correlation studies and case studies.
IV. Evidence obtained from expert committee reports or opinions
and/or clinical experience of respected authorities.
Classification of recommendations
A. Requires at least one randomized controlled trial as part of a body
of literature of overall good quality and consistency addressing the
specific recommendation.
B. Requires the availability of well conducted clinical studies, but no
randomized clinical trials on the topic of the recommendation.
C. Requires evidence obtained from expert committee reports or
opinions and/or clinical experience of respected authorities.
Indicates an absence of directly applicable clinical studies of good
quality.
Voting on the recommendations†
a. Agree
b. Disagree
†Accept statement when more than two-thirds of participants voted a.
Table 2 Indications for treatment
Indications (grade of recommendation)
Peptic ulcer disease (A)
MALToma (A)
Atrophic gastritis (B)
After gastric cancer resection (B)
Patients who have first degree relatives of patients with gastric
cancer (B)
Patients’ wishes (after full consultation with their physician) (A)
Non-ulcer dyspepsia (A)
To reduce the risk of peptic ulcer and upper gastrointestinal bleeding
in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-naive users (A)
Before starting long-term aspirin therapy for patients at high risk for
ulcers and ulcer-related complications (B)
Patients receiving long-term low-dose aspirin therapy and who have a
past history of upper gastrointestinal bleeding and perforation (B)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease patients requiring long-term proton
pump inhibitor (B)
As a strategy for gastric cancer prevention in communities with high
incidence of gastric cancer (A)
Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia, or idiopathic thrombocytopenic
purpura (C)
Second Asia–Pacific Consensus Guidelines for H. pylori KM Fock et al.
1588 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 24 (2009) 1587–1600
Journal compilation © 2009 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
tions have resulted in reduced transmission, infection rates in
future generations of adults will continue to decline. However,
large proportions of many adult populations remain infected so the
burden of infection manifesting as peptic ulcer disease and gastric
cancer will continue to be an important problem across the region
for years to come. Worldwide, gastric cancer remains the second
most common cause of cancer death, and much of this burden is
borne by the Asia–Pacific region.10
The need for higher quality prospective epidemiological data
was emphasized as a guide for planning H. pylori management
strategies across the region.
Statement 2: H. pylori eradication is indicated for H.
pylori positive patients with investigated dyspepsia
(non-ulcer dyspepsia).
Level of agreement: 78%; Level of evidence: 1A; Grade of recom-
mendation: A
There was a high level of agreement with this statement. Evidence
over the last decade has strengthened support for treating infected
patients in the absence of ulcer disease after investigation.11,12 The
evidence includes: (i) a small but clinically relevant likelihood of
an improvement in symptoms in the short and long term;11 (ii) a
long-term benefit in terms of reducing risks for subsequent peptic
ulcer disease and gastric cancer;13 (iii) a lack of a clinical cost-
effective superior alternative treatment; (iv) cost effectiveness data
from a number of different populations (although there are few
regional data);11 and (v) recognition of the rights of the patient and
the obligation of the clinician to offer the option of treatment in
this setting.5Given all these issues, it was considered that the
decision not to treat H. pylori infection must be an active one
rather than the default position.
It was recognized that within the region there are countries with
regulatory positions that act as barriers to treating patients in this
context and delegates who disagreed with this statement were from
these countries. On the other hand, in some countries the govern-
ments fund expensive endoscopic radiological and/or endoscopic
surveillance programs to detect early gastric cancer but do not fund
H. pylori eradication programs.
Statement 3: In H. pylori-positive patients with
uninvestigated dyspepsia and with no alarm features,
H. pylori “Test and Treat” is an appropriate strategy.
Level of agreement: 78%; Level of evidence: 1A; Grade of recom-
mendation: A
There was a high level of agreement with this statement. It was
considered that more recent data affirm this long-standing recom-
mendation.14,15 The benefits of treating H. pylori infection in this
context are broadly similar to treating infected dyspeptic patients
after investigation in which H. pylori chronic gastritis is the only
finding. That is, the same benefits with respect to symptom relief,
long-term risk reduction and choice also pertain to those with
uninvestigated dyspepsia. Importantly, in this group there will be a
subset of patients who have undiagnosed ulcer disease and eradi-
cation of H. pylori infection will confer a particular benefit, while
obviating the need for endoscopy in many cases.
The ongoing dilemma related to the fear of missing gastric
cancer remains an issue. While it was recognized that symptomatic
gastric cancer is rarely found at an early and curable stage the issue
is emotive as there is understandable patient and doctor fear related
to this issue. Although delaying referral for endoscopy for a brief
time is unlikely to affect prognosis in gastric cancer, anxiety
remains a major driver of referral for endoscopy in patients with
dyspepsia, despite the lack of alarm symptoms. It was agreed that
previous recommendations for a cascade approach remain relevant
with thresholds for referral for endoscopy being related to the age
of the patient, the prevalence of gastric cancer in the community
and the availability of endoscopy.1It was further noted that there is
no consistent relationship between early gastric cancer and the
presence of symptoms and recognition of this underpinned
screening (rather than case finding) programs in some countries,
such as Japan and Korea, where the prevalence of gastric cancer is
high.
As some of the benefit of treating uninvestigated patients with
dyspepsia relates to long-term risk reduction and health economic
benefits, the issue of screening and treating patients for H. pylori,
irrespective of symptoms, needs further study. There are certainly
some data, although little from the region, that suggest a benefit in
terms of reducing health-care costs for dyspepsia; this has been
demonstrated in populations with a relatively low prevalence of
infection and gastric cancer, and over a relatively short timespan.16
It is likely that any benefits will be magnified over time, given the
lifetime risks of infection.16
Statement 4: Routine “Test and Treat” for H. pylori
infection is not recommended for patients with
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Level of agreement: 89%; Level of evidence: IV; Grade of recom-
mendation: C
This statement was contentious and was considered in two con-
texts, depending on whether or not endoscopy had been done. In
European studies of patients undergoing endoscopy for reflux
symptoms, more than two-thirds will not have esophageal erosions
present. In many countries of the Asia–Pacific region, an even
higher proportion will be ‘endoscopy negative’.17 In these patients,
it is often not clear whether symptoms are due to reflux or non-
ulcer dyspepsia or another cause, as there is a marked overlap of
symptoms. A substantial proportion of such patients will have H.
pylori infection. In these patients the management strategy
involves the choice between a trial of PPI therapy or H. pylori
eradication therapy or both given sequentially. The reasons to
consider eradication therapy are the same as for investigation of
dyspepsia (see Statement 2): symptom improvement in some,
long-term risk reduction, cost benefit and choice. When symptoms
do not improve, the other benefits still pertain and this is not the
case if only the PPI strategy is tried and fails. Many patients with
predominant heartburn will need PPI therapy to control symptoms,
so a sequential approach of H. pylori eradication followed by PPI
therapy may be offered.
In patients who are endoscoped and found to have erosive
esophagitis and H. pylori infection, PPI therapy is usually the
mainstay of treatment for symptom control; treatment of H. pylori
infection in this context relates to long-term risk reduction rather
than symptom control.
The second group of patients are those with a clinical diagnosis
of reflux disease in whom endoscopy is not warranted or not
KM Fock et al. Second Asia–Pacific Consensus Guidelines for H. pylori
1589Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 24 (2009) 1587–1600
Journal compilation © 2009 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
available. The reasons to test for and treat H. pylori infection in
such patients are similar to those for endoscopy-negative patients.
Community data suggest that a proportion of patients with unin-
vestigated heartburn will respond symptomatically following
eradication therapy; issues of risk reduction, cost and choice are
again relevant.18 As for patients with uninvestigated dyspepsia
(overlapping symptoms may occur in up to 40%), those with
unrecognized ulcer disease will be cured.
International consensus statements diverge with European4,5 and
Canadian19 guidelines recommending treatment, while US guide-
lines2do not recommend treatment. In the Asia–Pacific region,
where reflux disease is less common while ulcer disease and
gastric cancer are more common, it was recognized that the like-
lihood and benefit of treating H. pylori infection will be commen-
surately greater.
Given the absence of definitive long-term data, it was agreed
that the decision to test for and treat H. pylori infection in those
with reflux predominant symptoms or endoscopically proven
esophagitis should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Lastly, there was consensus that eradication of H. pylori neither
conferred an increased risk of causing GERD, nor of making
pre-existing GERD harder to control with PPI therapy.20 In Asia,
some studies have shown an increase in GERD prevalence after H.
pylori eradication,21–24 whereas others have shown no effect on
GERD incidence, or even improvement of pre-existent GERD
symptoms.25,26 Another long-term observational study indicated
that even any increase in GERD incidence would not pose any
serious problems for case management.27
Statement 5: H. pylori testing should be considered in
patients receiving long-term maintenance treatment
with PPI for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: IIA; Grade of
recommendation: B
It was agreed that GERD is increasing in prevalence in some
countries within the Asia–Pacific region.8It is likely therefore that
there will be greater numbers of patients taking PPI therapy,
including those who will need long-term maintenance therapy. It is
accepted that long-term use of PPI causes a worsening of the
histological grade of gastritis in H. pylori-infected patients. There
is an accelerated risk of gastric mucosal atrophy that is not seen
when PPI are used in uninfected patients or in those in whom
eradication therapy has been given prior to long-term PPI use.28,29
Gastric mucosal atrophy is known to be a risk factor for the
development of gastric adenocarcinoma, so there is reason to con-
sider eradicating H. pylori infection prior to long-term PPI use,
particularly in younger patients. However, proof of any long-term
benefits of such a strategy is not yet available, as existing data
relate to intermediate histological end-points rather than the end-
point of gastric cancer. For this reason, opinion is divided as to
whether testing for and treating H. pylori infection should always
precede long-term PPI therapy in GERD patients.30 Decision
making on a case-by-case basis was recommended. The cost-
effectiveness of treating H. pylori in long-term PPI users in
primary care has recently been shown with the benefit related to
reduced symptom severity and a reduction in PPI use and other
health-care costs.31
Statement 6: Screen and treat for H. pylori infection
in communities with high incidence of gastric cancer
is an effective strategy for gastric cancer prevention.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: Ib; Grade of
recommendation: A
Data from the region have emerged recently to allow estimation
of the magnitude of gastric cancer risk associated with H. pylori
infection. In a cohort in Taiwan, 1.3% of infected subjects
developed gastric malignancy after a mean of just 6 years
compared with no cases in non-infected subjects.32 Given the
lifelong risks of gastric cancer related to H. pylori, it is likely
that the magnitude of the risk would increase significantly over
time.
The Consensus Group endorsed a recent Asia–Pacific consensus
guideline that concluded that screening and treating H. pylori was
an evidenced-based and reasonable strategy in selected communi-
ties where the burden of gastric cancer is high.13 Prospective evi-
dence of a reduction in occurrence of gastric cancer is available
from an 8-year prospective study in China.33 In that cohort, eradi-
cation of H. pylori infection in those who had not already devel-
oped intestinal metaplasia and gastric mucosal atrophy resulted in
a lower rate of gastric cancer over the study period compared to
those who did not have eradication therapy. No such difference
was seen in those patients who were given eradication but had
pre-existing H. pylori-associated intestinal metaplasia and atrophy.
However, it is plausible even in this group that rates of cancer may
be lowered over a lifetime, and a longer duration of follow up is
needed.
Other supportive data come from prospective studies of his-
tological changes after eradication therapy. In one study, a his-
tological score related to adverse changes including intestinal
metaplasia, atrophy and dysplasia were all lower in those who had
been given eradication therapy compared to those who had not.34
As intestinal metaplasia and atrophy are known to be the dominant
precursor and major risk factors for gastric cancer, this is impor-
tant and persuasive information. Given the strength of the data
from high prevalence regions, the need to screen and treat infected
subjects to prevent cancer, rather than rely on radiological and/or
endoscopy screening programs to find early cancers, has been
emphasized.35
As tests to determine the individual host susceptibility to
gastric cancer or the carcinogenic potential of the strain of H.
pylori infecting an individual are not readily available in clinical
practice, there is little opportunity at present to be selective about
offering treatment to reduce individual and community risks for
gastric cancer. There was agreement that the new data over the
last decade confirm the value of a ‘screen and treat’ strategy in
populations of high prevalence, although significant logistical
issues need to be addressed for such a strategy to be widely
adopted. Modeling data in high prevalence countries, such as
China, suggest screening will be cost-effective.36 Even in coun-
tries with relatively low prevalence of gastric cancer, modeling
suggests that a ‘screen and treat’ strategy may be cost-effective at
a level that may even exceed that of breast cancer and cervical
cancer screening.37 Further, recent intervention data that demon-
strated a reduced risk of metachronous gastric cancer after eradi-
cation therapy have also confirmed the value of H. pylori
eradication in secondary prevention.38
Second Asia–Pacific Consensus Guidelines for H. pylori KM Fock et al.
1590 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 24 (2009) 1587–1600
Journal compilation © 2009 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Statement 7: In areas with a high prevalence of both
H. pylori infection and gastric cancer, eliminating
H. pylori infection through improvements in public
health and education will have the greatest impact in
reducing the burden of gastric cancer.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: III; Grade of
recommendation: B
The prevalence of gastric cancer is in decline in developed
and rapidly developing countries and this relates to a decline in H.
pylori prevalence.39 Nonetheless, gastric cancer still causes
approximately 700 000 deaths globally each year.39 There was
consensus that notwithstanding the benefits of a ‘screen and treat’
strategy in regions of high prevalence of infection and gastric
cancer, by far the greatest reduction in the burden of cancer will
occur with improvements in public health and education. As with
other great epidemic and endemic infections of populations over
the ages, including tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and cholera,
improvements in overall living standards will have the greatest
impact by reducing the transmission and therefore the prevalence
of H. pylori infection. Indeed, the decline in prevalence of H.
pylori infection and of gastric cancer already witnessed in many
places around the world is more likely to be attributable to changes
in living standards and public health measures than medical
treatment. Epidemiological data suggest that the prevalence of
H. pylori infection in developed countries was already in decline
prior to the recognition of the organism in the 1980s. The well-
documented cohort effect is evidence of this change.40 Unfortu-
nately at present, only a tiny minority of those infected with H.
pylori will ever get access to appropriate therapy. While treatment
of an individual may reduce their risk of gastric cancer only a
small minority of the population will be treated and such a strategy
will have little impact on the overall population burden of gastric
cancer. It is therefore incumbent on physicians to advocate at every
level of government and health administration for public health
measures to reduce the burden of H. pylori (as well as other
common and important pathogens).
Statement 8: In non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
(NSAID)-naive users, H. pylori eradication will reduce
the risk of peptic ulcer and upper gastrointestinal
bleeding.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: Ia; Grade of
recommendation: A
Much of the recent data relating to H. pylori and NSAID-
associated risk for peptic ulcer and ulcer bleeding has been derived
within the Asia–Pacific region, most notably from Hong Kong.41–44
It constitutes a body of randomized controlled intervention trials
that provides a high level of evidence for practice within the
region.
It was recognized that the risk for NSAID-associated ulcer
disease varies according to host risk factors. These include
advanced age (with those aged >75 years at particularly increased
risk of complications), comorbidity, co-prescription of other drugs
associated with ulceration and bleeding (aspirin, antiplatelet drugs,
anticoagulants, corticosteroids and selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors), smoking and a past history of peptic ulcer disease or
bleeding.45,46 The relative risk of NSAID-associated peptic
ulceration and bleeding also varies according to the relative tox-
icity of the NSAID used (related to the half life of the drug), the
duration of therapy and the dose.47
Helicobacter pylori and NSAIDs are synergistic risk factors for
the occurrence of peptic ulceration, and additive for bleeding. In
endoscopic studies, the odds ratio (OR) for the presence of an ulcer
when both risk factors are present is 60 (i.e. 6000% relative risk
compared to when neither risk factor is present); for bleeding the
OR is 6.48
For primary prevention of peptic ulcer in NSAID users, ran-
domized, placebo-controlled Asian data demonstrate that eradica-
tion therapy prior to NSAID use reduces peptic ulcer and ulcer
bleeding significantly, irrespective of whether PPI are also given.43
These data are supported by a recent global meta-analysis that
confirms that eradication of H. pylori infection prior to NSAID use
significantly reduces the risk of peptic ulceration.49
It is not clear whether such data should be applied to all patients
prior to commencing long-term NSAID therapy rather than selec-
tively applying this information to those at greatest risk. There is
agreement that risk assessment should be stratified according to
the known host and drug-related risk factors but less agreement
exists about those at apparently low risk.50
Statement 9: In patients receiving long-term NSAIDs
who have a past history of peptic ulcer disease or
complications of peptic ulcer disease, H. pylori
eradication alone is not sufficient to prevent ulcer
recurrence and/or bleeding.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: 1b; Grade of
recommendation: A
This group of patients comprises those who are susceptible to
NSAID-related peptic ulceration and in whom H. pylori infection
may be coincidental or additive rather than causal. Eradication
alone in this group is therefore often insufficient to abolish the risk
of recurrent ulceration or bleeding although it may lower that risk
somewhat. A randomized controlled trial showed a greater benefit
of PPI therapy over H. pylori eradication in this context.42 It was
agreed that treatment of both risk factors, namely, eradication
therapy and PPI therapy, was likely to afford the greatest protec-
tion,43 and that, in those who needed on-going NSAID therapy, co-
administration of PPI was appropriate.
In contrast, for patients with an H. pylori-associated ulcer, or a
past history of ulcer disease, prior to NSAID use, eradication is
mandatory before NSAIDs are administered, as this is a core
indication for treatment (i.e. H. pylori-associated peptic ulcer
disease).
Statement 10: Before starting long-term aspirin
therapy for patients at high risk for ulcer and
ulcer-related complications, testing for and eradication
of H. pylori infection are indicated.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: 1b; Grade of
recommendation: B
The risk of aspirin-related upper gut bleeding is dose-related51
and independent of the formulation (enteric coated, buffered or
plain).52 The risk of peptic ulcers seen at endoscopy in elderly, H.
pylori-infected aspirin users is more than twice that seen in
KM Fock et al. Second Asia–Pacific Consensus Guidelines for H. pylori
1591Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 24 (2009) 1587–1600
Journal compilation © 2009 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
uninfected subjects.53 The risk of upper gut bleeding in aspirin
users is also increased by concomitant H. pylori infection
(OR =4.7) or a past history of ulcer disease (OR =15.2).54 The
value of prophylactic eradication prior to aspirin use in all patients
is uncertain, but it is reasonable to consider treatment in those with
other significant risk factors for ulcer or bleeding.55 Other factors
suggesting high risk are an older age (>60 years, but especially
when >75 years), concomitant use of anticoagulants and systemic
corticosteroids, and severe comorbid diseases.56
Statement 11: Treating H. pylori infection in patients
receiving long-term low-dose aspirin therapy and who
have a past history of upper gastrointestinal bleeding
and perforation will reduce risk of recurrent
hemorrhage.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: 1b; Grade of rec-
ommendation: B
A randomized controlled trial of H. pylori eradication or PPI
therapy showed no difference between these two treatments in the
secondary prevention of ulcer bleeding in patients continued on
low-dose aspirin. In 250 high-risk patients continuing low-dose
aspirin, the 6-month recurrent ulcer bleeding rates after eradication
therapy or with omeprazole 20 mg daily were 1.9% and 0.9%,
respectively.42 Another randomized controlled trial showed a
marked reduction in recurrent ulcer complications in low-dose
aspirin-users following sequential H. pylori eradication therapy
and then PPI prophylaxis. In 123 high-risk patients who had prior
ulcer complications, the risk of recurrent complications with con-
tinued low-dose aspirin was reduced from 15% in those who had
H. pylori eradication therapy alone (on an intention-to-treat basis)
to 1.6% in those given eradication therapy followed by lansopra-
zole 30 mg daily.57 Based on these data, the recommended strategy
is for H. pylori eradication therapy, followed by PPI prophylaxis in
high-risk patients. The value of prophylactic eradication is less
certain for aspirin users with no prior history of ulcer or ulcer
complication and with no other risk factors.
Statement 12: H. pylori infection should be sought
for and treated in patients with unexplained iron
deficiency anemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic
purpura (ITP).
Level of agreement: 83%; Level of evidence: III; Grade of recom-
mendation: C
It was agreed that there is sufficient evidence from a number of
studies to conclude that H. pylori may play a small role in iron
deficiency.58 Infection has been shown to be a stressor of iron
stores in some children and in women.58,59 It was emphasized,
however, that H. pylori infection should never be considered the
sole cause of iron deficiency in uninvestigated patients, and that
investigation of iron deficiency always should proceed along
usual clinical lines irrespective of H. pylori status. The effect of
H. pylori on iron stores may be greatest in those with marginal
dietary iron intake or other stressors of iron stores. In the
absence of any other definable cause for iron deficiency, follow-
ing investigation, it was considered reasonable to treat H. pylori
infection, while recognizing that this may benefit only a minority
of such patients.
Data relating to ITP were agreed to be suboptimal and incon-
clusive. A recent meta-analysis and a systematic review were not
convincing as they were based on less than ideal data.60,61 None-
theless, there is some evidence for an association, and it is reason-
able to treat H. pylori infection when found in this context. It is
accepted that only a minority of such patients may respond.
Statement 13: Urea breath tests and monoclonal
stool antigen tests are accurate and appropriate tests
for confirmation of H. pylori eradication.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: IIb; Grade of rec-
ommendation: B
When endoscopy is not indicated, C13 or C14 urea breath tests are
accepted as accurate non-invasive tests for initial diagnosis and for
the determination of the outcome of H. pylori eradication therapy.
However, local validation is required. This is because some pro-
viders have modified a number of the test parameters, including
the dose of isotope, duration of breath collection, requirement to
fast, use of a test drink to slow gastric emptying and analytical
equipment. There is a greater weight of evidence validating the
13C urea test in the context of outcome assessment; it is non-
radioactive in nature, and European guidelines recommend this
test, although either test is acceptable in the Asia–Pacific region
after appropriate validation. Breath tests consistently show the
highest diagnostic accuracy among non-invasive tests, and results
are comparable to biopsy-based tests.5,62,63
Newer stool antigen tests have been validated for use in
outcome assessment, and have an accuracy rate comparable to
breath tests.64 As with breath tests, their accuracy rate may be
affected by concomitant or recent PPI or antibiotic use. Test accu-
racy is also affected by not storing stool samples appropriately;
sensitivity declines when samples are left at room temperature.64
The accuracy of stool tests in routine use has been less studied
outside of specialized units in the Asia–Pacific context.
In general, outcome assessment after eradication therapy is rec-
ommended, as a significant proportion of patients fail to achieve
eradication after initial therapy. Unrecognized ongoing H. pylori
infection leaves the patient vulnerable to the medical complica-
tions of infection, and the physician vulnerable to any medico-
legal consequences. The importance of determining outcome will
vary according to the indication for therapy. In those with ulcer
disease, especially complicated ulcer disease, or a family history
of gastric cancer there is more to gain from successful eradication
and more to risk if treatment fails than among patients treated
only for dyspepsia. While it was agreed that outcome assessment
in these patients is recommended, there was discordant opinion
about the necessity or feasibility of providing outcome assess-
ment in all treated patients. It was agreed that practice varies
between countries and health systems. Moreover, access and
regulatory approval of tests varies between countries in the
region. The availability of appropriate salvage or maintenance
therapies will also influence practice. Outcome assessment should
be done not less than 4 weeks after the completion of eradication
therapy, and PPI should be withheld for 1 and preferably 2 weeks
prior to testing.65
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Statement 14: Serological tests have a limited role in
the management of H. pylori infection.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: IIa; Grade of rec-
ommendation: B
It was affirmed that serological tests are the least accurate diag-
nostic test for H. pylori infection, and are not useful to determine
the outcome of therapy. In some countries they are not accepted as
accurate enough for individual diagnostic decision-making,
whereas in others they are the mainstay of diagnosis because of
their availability and low cost. It was agreed that where better
alternative tests are accessible, these are preferred. There are a few
instances where a supplementary serological test may aid
decision-making, such as in cases with discordant biopsy-based
tests, or in whom biopsies reveal active chronic gastritis in the
absence of organisms. Such histology is highly suggestive of
infection, and a high titer serological test is helpful in this context.
Similarly in bleeding patients, biopsy-based tests for H. pylori
have a higher false-negative rate, and a high titer serological test is
also useful in this context. As PPI and antibiotic use increase the
false-negative rate of biopsy, breath and stool antigen tests, a
serological test may be helpful when use of these agents cannot be
avoided. Serological tests must be validated locally. There is vari-
able cross-reactivity with other bacterial antigens and the antige-
nicity of a locally prevalent strain may be different from strains
used for immunoassays by manufacturers, thus lowering the
sensitivity.
Serological tests provide a high negative predictive value in low
prevalence areas, and may be useful in high prevalence areas when
there are no better alternatives; in this context, they have higher
positive predictive value. However, published comparisons of
serological tests show very variable accuracy.66 This lack of pre-
cision is considered too great for use in individual clinical deci-
sions when better alternatives are available. Use of such tests for
seroepidemiological studies remains practical and reasonable. In
general, laboratory-based serological tests are more accurate than
office-based tests.
II: Treatment of H. pylori infection (Table 3)
Statement 15: In Asia, the currently recommended
first-line therapy for H. pylori infection is PPI,
amoxicillin and clarithromycin for 7 days.
Level of agreement: (a) 94%; (b) 6%; Level of evidence: I; Grade
of recommendation: A
This was similar to the 1997 Asia–Pacific Consensus. In several
multicenter studies, the use of a regimen containing PPI, amox-
icillin and clarithromycin each given twice daily for a week, has
been shown to achieve high eradication rates; these reach 90% or
greater by per-protocol analysis (PPA), and 80% or greater by ITT
analysis.1,67–69 Although some other studies have shown a lower
eradication rate, they were still 80% or higher on an ITT
analysis.70–74 Metronidazole is an acceptable alternative to amox-
icillin or clarithromycin in triple-therapy regimens, with similar
eradication rates5,69,71 However, it has not been as widely used in
the Asia–Pacific region, where the amoxicillin-containing combi-
nations are preferred over those containing metronidazole, espe-
cially in countries where rates of metronidazole resistance exceed
30%. In Japan, the use of metronidazole is limited because of a
lack of regulatory approval for its use in H. pylori eradication
therapies.75
When a patient has penicillin allergy, the most common first-
line choice of therapy is to substitute metronidazole for amoxicil-
lin in triple therapy. This fails in 20–25% of cases, and secondary
dual resistance is common. Another choice is to use bismuth-based
quadruple therapy as first-line treatment. An alternative approach,
when the history of allergy is not certain, is to formally test for
penicillin allergy using the radioallergosorbent test and skin prick
tests; if both are negative, a medically supervised oral challenge
with amoxicillin is reasonable. In a small study using such an
approach, 80% of patients previously excluded on history from
using amoxicillin were able to be safely treated with amoxicillin-
based first and/or salvage therapies, and eradication was achieved
in every case.76
Statement 16: There is an increasing rate of
resistance to clarithromycin and metronidazole in
parts of Asia. This has led to reduced efficacy of
PPI-based triple therapy.
Level of agreement: (a) 100%; Level of evidence: III
In parts of Asia, increasing rates of primary resistance to clarithro-
mycin and high or increasing rates of metronidazole resistance
have been reported. In Japan, a working group of the Japanese
Society for Helicobacter Research undertook a surveillance study
to determine the current antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of H.
pylori isolates during the period 2002–2005.77 A total of 37 insti-
tutions were involved and 3707 isolates analyzed. Resistance to
clarithromycin increased from 19% to 28% over the 3-year period.
Unlike other parts of Asia, this study showed that resistance to
metronidazole in Japan remained low at 3.3–4.9% during the study
period, reflecting the restricted use of metronidazole in Japan.
In Korea, a study of 652 isolates from 1994–1999 revealed that
resistance to metronidazole and clarithromycin increased from
33% to 48%, and 4.8% to 7.7%, respectively.78 In another smaller
Korean study of 135 isolates, primary resistance to clarithromycin
was reported to have increased from 2.8% in 1994 to 14% in 2003,
while that for metronidazole rose from 53% in 1987 to 66% in
2003.79 In Beijing, China, resistance rates of H. pylori to metron-
idazole and clarithromycin in 1999–2000 were 36% and 10%,
respectively, and increased to 43% and 18%, respectively, in 2001–
2002.80 In Hong Kong, a single center study showed that the
prevalence of metronidazole resistance increased from 22% in
Table 3 Treatment regimens for Helicobacter pylori
Standard proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-based triple therapy: 7–14 days
PPI, amoxicillin 1 g, clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily
PPI, metronidazole 400 mg, clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily
PPI, amoxicillin 1 g, metronidazole 400 mg twice daily
Quadruple therapy: 7–14 days
PPI twice daily, bismuth 240 mg twice daily, metronidazole 400 mg
twice daily or three times daily, tetracycline 500 mg four times daily
Levofloxacin-based triple therapy: 10 days
PPI, levofloxacin 250 mg (or 500 mg), amoxicillin 1 g twice daily
Rifabutin-based triple therapy: 7–10 days
PPI, rifabutin 150 mg, amoxicillin 1 g twice daily
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1991 to 73% in 1995.81 In a more recent single center study, the
point prevalence of H. pylori strains resistant to metronidazole
and clarithromycin were 49% and 11%, respectively.82 In Taiwan,
the point prevalence of metronidazole resistance published in
2000 and 2007 from two different centers was 32%83 and 52%,84
respectively. A 2003 multicenter Indian study showed that the
H. pylori resistance rate was 78% for metronidazole and 45% for
clarithromycin.85 Although time-trend data are not available, this
shows the magnitude of the current problem of antibiotic resis-
tance in India. When considering the increase in primary antibiotic
resistance, there is a possibility of sampling bias because most
studies are from referral centers and may not reflect true commu-
nity prevalence. In Japan, there is a national reference laboratory
making data more robust. There is a need for systematic prospec-
tive surveillance of antibiotic resistance rates in the region.
In a longitudinal observational study from Korea, the yearly H.
pylori eradication rates by PPA for the years 1998–2005 were
84%, 80%, 81%, 79%, 75%, 78%, 79% and 78% consecutively.86
The differences are not statistically significant, so the impact of
any possible rise in resistance is not yet evident. An analysis of
outcome data from recently published trials noted that eradication
rates for PPI, amoxicillin, clarithromycin triple therapy had fallen
below 80% on an ITT basis, and that this most likely reflected the
increasing rate of clarithromycin resistance.87 The impact of anti-
biotic resistance on treatment efficacy was clearly shown in a
meta-analysis of 93 studies embracing 10 178 patients.88 In
patients receiving triple therapy consisting of a PPI, amoxicillin
and clarithromycin, clarithromycin resistance decreased treatment
efficacy by 66% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 58–74%). When
the triple therapy consisted of PPI, metronidazole and clarithro-
mycin, clarithromycin resistance reduced treatment efficacy by
35% (25–45%). In the presence of metronidazole resistance, the
efficacies of triple therapy with PPI, amoxicillin and metronida-
zole, and PPI, clarithromycin and metronidazole, were reduced by
30% (95% CI: 22–38%) and 18% (95% CI: 13–23%), respectively.
Primary resistance to clarithromycin and metronidazole reflects
the wider community use of these antibiotics as monotherapy for
other indications. To address the problem of decreased efficacy of
H. pylori eradication therapies, the amount of monotherapy use
should be reviewed. In addition, national epidemiological surveil-
lance of resistance rates should be monitored, as this will affect
local choices of first-line treatment based on resistance thresholds.
The Maastricht Consensus recommended that the threshold of
clarithromycin resistance at which it should not be used, or when
susceptibility testing needs to be performed, was 15–20%. The
corresponding threshold for metronidazole was 40%, notwith-
standing the possibility of discordance between in vitro and in vivo
resistance.5
Statement 17: Fourteen-day triple therapy confers
limited advantage over 7-day triple therapy in H.
pylori eradication rates.
Level of agreement: (a) 94%; (b) 6%; Level of evidence: I; Grade
of recommendation: A
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examined the
effect of treatment duration on success rate.89 Of 21 studies, 14
were from Europe, three from USA, two from Asia and one from
South Africa. Thirteen of the studies (1982 patients), compared 7
versus 10 days of treatment, while 13 studies (2849 patients) com-
pared 7 with 14 days of treatment. Meta-analysis yielded relative
risks (RR) for eradication of 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.10) for 7-day
compared with 10-day triple therapy; the eradication rates were
77% for 7-day therapy, and 81% for 10-day therapy. When 7- and
14-day treatments were compared, the RR was 1.07 (95% CI:
1.03–1.12); the eradication rates were 73% and 78%, respectively.
For the single Asian study in the meta-analysis that compared 14-
with 7-day treatment, there was no difference in H. pylori eradi-
cation rates.90 Despite the minor statistical difference between 7-
and 14-day treatments in the meta-analysis, it was concluded that
extending triple therapy beyond 7 days was unlikely to be a clini-
cally useful strategy, because the difference in magnitude was
small. In addition, it may not be cost-effective, and adverse effects,
cost and compliance to treatment need to be addressed.
Statement 18: Bismuth-based quadruple therapy is an
effective alternative first-line therapy for H. pylori
eradication.
Level of agreement: (a) 88%; (b) 12%; Level of evidence: I; Grade
of recommendation: A
A meta-analysis compared quadruple therapy with triple therapy
for H. pylori eradication. There was no difference between either
strategy by both PPA and ITT. In PPA, eradication was achieved in
88% with quadruple therapy (95% CI: 84–90%) and in 85% with
triple therapy (95% CI: 81–88%), and the OR was 0.81 (95% CI:
0.55–1.20; P=0.3). By ITT, the eradication rate was 81% with
quadruple therapy (95% CI: 77–84%) and 78% with triple therapy
(95% CI: 74–81%). The OR was 0.83 (95% CI: 0.61–1.14;
P=0.3).91 This meta-analysis included the results of a multicenter
North American randomized study that was initially only available
in abstract form, but was subsequently published in full the same
year.92 In that study, the H. pylori eradication rate was similar
between bismuth-based quadruple therapy and PPI-based triple
therapy, with ITT eradication rates of 88% and 83%, respectively
(P=0.29). The consensus group agreed unanimously on the effi-
cacy of bismuth-based quadruple therapy; disagreement on its
indication as first time therapy reflected the view of some that it
should be reserved for use as a second-line therapy, and the fact
that this regimen is not available in some countries such as Japan
and Australia.
Statement 19: There are currently insufficient data to
recommend sequential therapy as an alternative first
line for H. pylori therapy in Asia.
Level of agreement: 100%; Level of evidence: IV; Grade of rec-
ommendation: C
There is recent interest in the use of a 10-day sequential therapy
which consists of 5 days of treatment with a PPI and one antibiotic
(usually amoxicillin), followed by 5-day treatment with the PPI
and two other antibiotics (usually clarithromycin and a
5-nitroimidazole). The rationale for this approach is that amoxicil-
lin may weaken the bacterial cell wall in the initial phase of
treatment, and prevent the development of drug efflux channels
that inhibit clarithromycin from binding to ribosomes and thus
help to improve the efficacy of clarithromycin in the second phase
of treatment. A meta-analysis involving 10 randomized controlled
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trials with 2747 patients calculated an eradication rate of 93%
(95% CI: 91–96%) for sequential therapy and 77% (95% CI:
71–83%) for standard triple therapy (RR reduction, 71% [95% CI:
64–77%]; absolute RR, 16% [95% CI: 14–19%]).93 Commentators
have pointed out the likelihood of publication bias and other defi-
ciencies in the current data. There is therefore a clear need for
multicenter, multi-region randomized trials to determine whether
this therapy offers any real advantage. In the single published
Asian study, no difference was found between a 10-day sequential
therapy and a PPI-based triple therapy. By PPA, eradication rates
were 86% and 77% respectively (P=0.15); by ITT analysis, eradi-
cation rates were 78% and 72%, respectively (P=0.361).94 The
Consensus Group agreed that it was premature to recommend the
use of sequential therapy in Asia.
Statement 20: Salvage therapy for H. pylori
eradication includes: (i) a standard triple therapy that
has not been previously used; (ii) bismuth-based
quadruple therapy; (iii) levofloxacin-based triple
therapy; and (iv) rifabutin-based triple therapy.
Level of agreement: (a) 94%; (b) 6%; Level of evidence: I; Grade
of recommendation: A
It was agreed that there was a lack of well-powered multicenter
randomized trials of salvage therapies and a paucity of direct
comparison between salvage options. Nonetheless, there was
enough evidence of efficacy to allow recommendations for the
choices of salvage treatments.
1: Standard triple therapy that has not been previously
used. An option after first-line eradication failure is to use a
standard triple therapy that contains an antibiotic that has not been
used previously. In Japan, for instance, where the prevalence of
metronidazole resistance is low, in the event of failure of PPI,
amoxicillin, clarithromycin triple therapy, the use of PPI, amox-
icillin and metronidazole triple therapy is a viable alternative. Such
a second-line strategy in Japan has been reported to achieve
eradication rates of 88% by ITT (without susceptibility testing)
or 94% with susceptibility testing.95 Very similar results have
been reported in another Japanese multicenter study using this
strategy.96 In patients who had failed metronidazole-based triple
therapy treatment with amoxicillin, amoxicillin-based triple
therapy or quadruple therapy revealed PPA and ITT efficacies of
82% (95% CI: 64–100%) and 75% (95% CI: 56–94%) for triple
therapy and 80% (96% CI: 64–96%) and 71% (95% CI: 54–88%)
for quadruple therapy, respectively. These differences were not
statistically significant.97
2: Bismuth-based quadruple therapy. Bismuth-based qua-
druple therapy is useful as a second-line therapy after failure of
PPI-based triple therapy. In a study that evaluated PPI, bismuth,
tetracycline and metronidazole as salvage therapy after failed PPI,
amoxicillin and clarithromycin in 53 patients, on an ITT basis, the
eradication rate was 70% by PPA and 82% by ITT.98 In another
study of 118 patients that evaluated PPI, bismuth, tetracycline,
metronidazole quadruple therapy as either first-line or salvage
therapy, the PPA eradication rate was 98% and 95% (95% CI:
90–98%) per ITT.99 In another study with 78 patients that evalu-
ated salvage PPI, bismuth, amoxicillin and clarithromycin qua-
druple therapy after unsuccessful bismuth-based triple therapy
(bismuth, metronidazole, tetracycline), successful eradication was
achieved in 83% (95% CI: 75–91%).100 A recent study with 133
patients compared the efficacy of H. pylori eradication with
pantoprazole-based 7-day triple therapy (pantoprazole 40 mg
b.i.d., amoxicillin 1.0 g b.i.d., clarithromycin 500 mg b.i.d.) (PAC)
versus 7- or 10-day quadruple therapy (pantoprazole 40 mg b.i.d.,
bismuth potassium citrate 220 mg b.i.d., metronidazole 400 mg
t.i.d., tetracycline 750 mg b.i.d.) (PBMT). The H. pylori eradica-
tion rates by PPA were 75%, 83% and 91%, respectively; while by
ITT analysis in the 7-day PAC group, 7- and 10-day PBMT
groups, the rates were 73%, 79% and 89%, respectively. The
eradication rate in the 7-day PAC group was significantly lower
than that in the 10-day PBMT group.101 It was concluded that the
10-day quadruple regimen could be considered as the first-choice
therapy for H. pylori infection when the efficacy of 7-day standard
triple therapy was decreased.
3: Levofloxacin-based triple therapy. The efficacy of salvage
therapy with levofloxacin-based triple therapy compared with qua-
druple therapy was addressed in a recent meta-analysis of 14 studies
with 977 patients. All but four studies prescribed levofloxacin at
doses of 250 mg twice daily or 500 mg once daily. In two studies,
higher doses of levofloxacin (500 mg b.i.d.) were given. Most of the
studies combined a PPI and amoxicillin with levofloxacin, and only
three studies used azithromycin, rifabutin or furazolidone instead
of amoxicillin. The overall H. pylori eradication rate with
levofloxacin-based regimens was 80% (95% CI: 77–82%). When
administered for 7 days, the rate was 73% (95% CI: 68–79%) and
81% (95% CI: 78–84%) when 10-day regimens were used
(P<0.01). When levofloxacin-based triple regimens were com-
pared with quadruple regimens, the eradication rate (pooled data)
with levofloxacin was 81% (95% CI: 78–85%) and 70% (95% CI:
66–74%) with the quadruple regimen. When only more rigorous
studies were considered, the advantage of the levofloxacin regimen
over the quadruple regimen increased (88% [95% CI: 84–92%] vs
64% [95% CI: 58–70%]), with an OR of 4.11 (95% CI: 1.89–8.95).
There were also less adverse effects with the levofloxacin regimen
(19% vs 44%; OR =0.27; 95% CI: 0.16–0.46).102
4: Rifabutin-based triple therapy. Rifabutin is derived from
rifampicin and is used in rescue treatment of tuberculosis. It has
activity against H. pylori in vitro, achieving lower levels of
minimum inhibitory concentration than obtained by clarithromy-
cin and amoxicillin and its effectiveness does not depend on the
pH of the medium.103 Rifabutin-based triple therapy has been
found to be a useful salvage therapy. A 10-day rifabutin triple
therapy of pantoprazole, amoxicillin and rifabutin (either 150 or
300 mg) against quadruple therapy (pantoprazole, bismuth, met-
ronidazole, tetracycline) revealed higher eradication rates in the
rifabutin 300-mg group (87% ITT), compared with the other
groups (67%).104 On an ITT basis, the eradication rate was highest.
Results of case series giving triple therapy with twice daily PPI,
rifabutin 150 mg, amoxicillin 1 g for 7 and 10 days have shown
PPA, ITT eradication rates of 86%, 72% and 76%, 72%, respec-
tively.105,106 In the latter study, when rifabutin was used as a
second-line therapy, the eradication rate was 95%, compared to
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68% when two or more previous treatments had been given. In
another study of 10-day PPI, rifabutin 150 mg and amoxicillin
therapy as a third-line treatment, the PPA and ITT eradication rates
were 62% and 61%, respectively.107 Conversely, a comparison of
omeprazole, amoxicillin, rifabutin 1-week triple therapy with
omeprazole, bismuth, tetracycline, metronidazole 1-week qua-
druple therapy, as second-line treatment, favored the quadruple
therapy in both PPA (77% vs 44%) and ITT (70% vs 45%).108 A
comparison of a 10-day levofloxacin-based triple therapy (PPI,
amoxicillin, levofloxacin) with rifabutin-based triple therapy (PPI,
amoxicillin, rifabutin) in patients who had previously failed stan-
dard triple therapy and second-line quadruple therapy, favored
levofloxacin-based triple therapy. The PPA and ITT eradication
rates were 45% versus 85% and 45% versus 81%, respectively.109
PPI and rifabutin have been combined with moxifloxacin110 or
levofloxacin.111 Results of past studies are promising with PPA/
ITT eradication rates of 83%/73%110 and 91%/91%,111 respec-
tively. Rifabutin carries a small risk of neutropenia, and this has
sometimes led to it being used after failure of other second-line
therapies. However, its efficacy is greater as second rather than
subsequent treatment.
Quadruple therapy has been used as a salvage therapy for the
longest time and experience with it is therefore more extensive
than for other salvage therapies. However, recent data do provide
clinicians more options. The choice of salvage therapy depends on
factors such as the local pattern of antibiotic resistance, drug
availability, previous treatment, and perhaps the local prevalence
of tuberculosis in the context of rifabutin use. For instance,
levofloxacin-based triple therapy may be an effective second-line
therapy in areas with low levofloxacin resistance rates, and rifabu-
tin, if available, may be considered in regions with low prevalence
of tuberculosis.
Statement 21: CYP2C19 polymorphisms may affect H.
pylori eradication rates in PPI-based triple therapy.
Choice of PPI or increasing the dose is a more
practical approach than CYP2C19 genotyping in the
clinical setting to overcome CYP2C19 polymorphisms
in the context of salvage therapy.
Level of agreement: (a) 94%; (b) 6%; Level of evidence: IV; Grade
of recommendation: C
PPI are crucial to H. pylori eradication regimens. PPI make the
acid-labile antibiotics more stable and by increasing the concen-
tration of antibiotics in the gastric juice they increase the sensitiv-
ity of H. pylori to antibiotics.112 PPI also possess modest intrinsic
antimicrobial properties. Metabolism of PPI depends on hepatic
cytochrome P450 enzymes, especially the CYP2C19 genotype.
The CYP2C19 genotype exists as three polymorphisms which
effect rates of drug metabolism and thereby effect the pharmaco-
dynamics of PPI. The most common, wild-type, homozygous
extensive metabolizer (HomEM) genotype consists of two normal
alleles, with resulting normal enzyme levels. Thus, people who are
CYP2C19 EM metabolize the PPI at a higher rate, limiting bio-
availability, and consequently lowering antisecretory efficacy. The
heterozygous EM (HetEM) contains one wild-type allele and one
mutant allele, resulting in compromised production of the enzyme
and thus, slower metabolism of the PPI. In the poor metabolizer
(PM) genotype, both alleles are mutated. This results in a much
slower rate of PPI metabolism, ensuring greater bioavailability and
subsequently increased antisecretory efficacy. The antisecretory
efficacy of various PPI is affected by CYP2C19 polymorphisms to
different degrees; omeprazole is most affected, followed by lanso-
prazole and rabeprazole, which is least affected.112
A meta-analysis analyzed the effect of the CYP2C19 genotype
on H. pylori eradication rates when omeprazole, lansoprazole and
rabeprazole were used.112 When all eradication rates, regardless of
PPI used, were combined there was no significant difference
between PM and HetEM, but there was a significant difference
between HetEM and HomEM (OR =1.90; 95% CI: 1.38–2.60;
P<0.0001). Subanalysis of individual PPI revealed that dual and
triple omeprazole therapies significantly favored higher H. pylori
eradication rates in PM over HomEM (OR =4.03; 95% CI: 1.97–
8.28; P=0.0001) and over HetEM (OR =2.24; 95% CI, 1.09–
4.61; P=0.03). Dual and triple rabeprazole and triple lansoprazole
therapies did not show significantly different H. pylori eradication
rates between PM and HomEM.
The effect of CYP2C19 polymorphism on esomeprazole-based
triple therapy was also assessed. An increased dose of esomepra-
zole 40 mg twice daily in triple therapy may improve the H. pylori
eradication rate compared to omeprazole-based therapy for
HomEM of CYP2C19.113 Two hundred H. pylori-infected dyspep-
tic patients were randomized to receive clarithromycin 500 mg
twice daily and amoxicillin 1 g twice daily plus either omeprazole
20 mg or esomeprazole 40 mg twice daily for 1 week. For patients
classified as HomEM, the PPA H. pylori eradication rate was
significantly higher in the esomeprazole group than in the ome-
prazole group (93% vs 76%, P<0.05). A study of the role of the
CYP2C19 genotype in the success of eradication of H. pylori
infection in patients receiving pantoprazole- or esomeprazole-
based triple therapy reported an overall eradication rate in PM that
was significantly higher than in the EM groups (97% vs 83%;
P=0.016). This difference was present whether pantoprazole
(95.7% vs 80.8%) or esomeprazole (100% vs 87%) were used.114
A recent editorial commented that the impact of CYP2C19 gene
polymorphisms on the success of H. pylori eradication therapies
may be significant in Asia because PM account for 15–23% or
more of the population.115,116 This raises the question of whether
determination of CYP2C19 genotype is required before starting H.
pylori therapy in Asia. The Consensus Group considered that this
was not yet practical because of the cost and limited availability of
genotyping tests. PPI choice and/or dose, rather than CYP2C19
genotyping, could be a more practical approach to assure the
highest H. pylori eradication rates in a clinical setting.115
Statement 22: Smoking adversely affects the outcome
of H. pylori eradication therapy.
Level of agreement: (a) 94%; (b) 6%; Level of evidence: I; Grade
of recommendation: A
Smoking increases the number of treatment failures of H. pylori
eradication therapy. A meta-analysis of 22 studies and 5538
patients found that the summary OR for eradication failure among
smokers relative to non-smokers was 1.95 (95% CI: 1.55–2.45;
P<0.01). This corresponded to a difference in eradication rate of
8.4% (95% CI: 3.3–13.5%; P<0.01) between smokers and non-
smokers, in favor of non-smokers.117 Conversely, stopping
smoking during H. pylori therapy may improve eradication rates
Second Asia–Pacific Consensus Guidelines for H. pylori KM Fock et al.
1596 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 24 (2009) 1587–1600
Journal compilation © 2009 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
among smokers. Smokers who stopped smoking during eradica-
tion therapy showed the same efficacy as non-smokers, whereas
those who continued smoking experienced a worse result on
average.118
Mechanisms postulated to explain the negative effect of
smoking on H. pylori eradication include the following: (i) pos-
sible reduction of delivery of antibiotics to the gastric mucosa on
account of the reduction in gastric mucosal blood flow and mucus
secretion by smoking; and (ii) association of smoking with other
confounders, such as reduced compliance to treatment.117
Conclusions
There is an increasing rate of resistance to clarithromycin and
metronidazole in Asia, leading to reduced efficacy of PPI-based
triple therapy. Knowledge of the local resistance pattern is impor-
tant to guide the choice of appropriate therapy. Salvage therapies
include standard triple therapy that has not been previously used,
bismuth-based quadruple therapy, levofloxacin-based or rifabutin-
based triple therapy. Smoking cessation and changing the dose or
choice of PPI, may improve eradication rates. The role of antibi-
otic sensitivity testing was not addressed specifically, but it should
be considered for surveillance of trends in antibiotic resistance, as
well as in selected cases as a guide to salvage therapies. In most
cases, however, it will not influence the choice of second- or
third-line therapies.
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    • "The American guideline also recommends to consider levofloxacin-based triple therapy when bismuth or clarithromycin-based therapies are not an option in some circumstances [14]. In 2009, the Asia–Pacific H.pylori Consensus Conference agreed that the first-line treatment should consist of either clarithromycin-based triple or bismuth quadruple therapy, and further proposed four options for second-line treatment: (i) standard triple therapy that has not been previously used; (ii) bismuth-based quadruple therapy; (iii) levofloxacin-based triple therapy; and (iv) rifabutin-based triple therapy [55]. The European Helicobacter Study Group published their latest guideline in 2012 – the Maastricht IV report [12] recommending specific H.pylori eradication strategies according to different clarithromycin resistance rates. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Approximately half of the world’s population is infected with Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), a bacterium shown to be linked with a series of gastrointestinal diseases. A growing number of systematic reviews (SRs) have been published comparing the effectiveness of different treatments for H.pylori infection but have not reached a consistent conclusion. The objective of this study is to provide an overview of SRs of pharmacological therapies for the eradication of H.pylori. Methods Major electronic databases were searched to identify relevant SRs published between 2002 and February 2016. Studies were considered eligible if they included RCTs comparing different pharmacological regimens for treating patients diagnosed as H.pylori infected and pooled the eradication rates in a meta-analysis. A modified version of the ‘A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews’ (AMSTAR) was used to assess the methodological quality. A Bayesian random effects network meta-analysis (NMA) was conducted to compare the different proton pump inhibitors (PPI) within triple therapy. Results 30 SRs with pairwise meta-analysis were included. In triple therapy, the NMA ranked the esomeprazole to be the most effective PPI, followed by rabeprazole, while no difference was observed among the three old generations of PPI for the eradication of H.pylori. When comparing triple and bismuth-based therapy, the relative effectiveness appeared to be dependent on the choice of antibiotics within the triple therapy; moxifloxacin or levofloxacin-based triple therapy were both associated with greater effectiveness than bismuth-based therapy as a second-line treatment, while bismuth-based therapy achieved similar or greater eradication rate compared to clarithromycin-based therapy. Inconsistent findings were reported regarding the use of levofloxacin/moxifloxacin in the first-line treatment; this could be due to the varied resistant rate to different antibiotics across regions and populations. Critical appraisal showed a low-moderate level of overall methodological quality of included studies. Conclusions Our analysis suggests that the new generation of PPIs and use of moxifloxacin or levofloxacin within triple therapy as second-line treatment were associated with greater effectiveness. Given the varied antibiotic resistant rate across regions, the appropriateness of pooling results together in meta-analysis should be carefully considered and the recommendation of the choice of antibiotics should be localized. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12876-016-0491-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016
    • "If the above first-line therapy fails to eradicate H. pylori, a second-line protocol should be considered. Increased numbers of strains of H. pylori resistant to clarithromycin and metronidazole have been reported during the last decade , ranging from 30 to 100 % [4, 33, 37]. " Quadruple therapy " including PPI, bismuth, tetracycline and metronidazole has been recommended [7] . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)-associated gastritis is one of the most common infectious diseases in the United States, China and worldwide. Gastric mucosa-associated tissue lymphoma (MALT lymphoma) is a rare mature B-cell neoplasm associated with H. pylori infection that is curable by antibiotics therapy alone. The pathological diagnosis of gastric MALT lymphoma can be reached by histological examination, immunohistochemical staining and B-cell clonality analysis. H. pylori eradication is the choice of therapy for early-stage gastric MALT lymphoma. High response rates and long-term survival have been reported in refractory and localized diseases treated with low-dose radiation therapy. Systemic chemotherapy is recommended for advanced-stage gastric MALT lymphoma and cases with large B-cell lymphoma transformation. Recent advances in the pathological diagnosis and management of gastric MALT lymphoma are reviewed in this article.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016
    • "Although H. pylori is susceptible to most antibiotics in vitro, only few antibiotics can be used for eradicating H. pylori in vivo, e.g. amoxicillin, clarithromycin, metronidazole and tetracycline [3]. Combination therapy is needed for successful eradication of H. pylori, Increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance in H. pylori is problematic since it is one of the important causes of therapy failure [4]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Biofilm formation by Helicobacter pylori may be one of the factors influencing eradication outcome. However, genetic differences between good and poor biofilm forming strains have not been studied. Materials and Methods Biofilm yield of 32 Helicobacter pylori strains (standard strain and 31 clinical strains) were determined by crystal-violet assay and grouped into poor, moderate and good biofilm forming groups. Whole genome sequencing of these 32 clinical strains was performed on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Annotation and comparison of the differences between the genomic sequences were carried out using RAST (Rapid Annotation using Subsystem Technology) and SEED viewer. Genes identified were confirmed using PCR. Results Genes identified to be associated with biofilm formation in H. pylori includes alpha (1,3)-fucosyltransferase, flagellar protein, 3 hypothetical proteins, outer membrane protein and a cag pathogenicity island protein. These genes play a role in bacterial motility, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis, Lewis antigen synthesis, adhesion and/or the type-IV secretion system (T4SS). Deletion of cagA and cagPAI confirmed that CagA and T4SS were involved in H. pylori biofilm formation. © 2016 Wong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2016
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