Treatment after failure: the problem of "non-responders"
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Although the currently most effective treatment regimens cure about 90% of infections, 10% of patients remain Helicobacter pylori positive. Several factors contribute to treatment failure. These include patient compliance, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and treatment related issues. Treatment failure leads to the development of bacterial resistance to metronidazole and clarithromycin. Retreatment can be undertaken after considering several different strategies: to repeat the same regimen with full doses of medications and a longer treatment duration, or to choose different regimens to avoid the antibiotic previously used, or to switch to proton pump inhibitor (PPI) based quadruple therapy or ranitidine bismuth citrate (RBC) based triple therapy. In principle, full doses and longer treatment durations are advisable. As retreatment is always difficult, choosing the best available first line treatment regimen is still the best "rescue" treatment.
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