Background and aims: Although the role of H. pylori in peptic ulcer disease is no longer in dispute, certain aspects of eradication therapy in this condition have yet to be settled. Uncertainties still surround the relationship between Helicobacter pylori status and ulcer healing, the efficacy of eradication therapy in alleviating acute symptoms and healing ulcers, and the prognosis after eradication with respect to recurrence of symptoms, ulcers and complications. The present literature review, encompassing studies published up to October 1995, specifically addresses these issues.
Results: Pooled data show that eradication therapy heals 90% of duodenal ulcers and 85% of gastric ulcers, while individual studies repeatedly confirm that it is more effective at healing ulcers than conventional treatment with anti-secretory drugs. Recent reports indicate that triple therapy regimens for 1 week, provided they include an anti-secretory drug, are sufficient to achieve high rates of healing and rapid symptom relief. A detailed analysis of the data, particularly those from studies reporting healing rates in relation to H. pylori status after eradication therapy, provides strong evidence that eradication of H. pylori produces ulcer healing. Follow-up studies show that ulcer recurrence and complications are rare after eradication treatment in patients with either gastric or duodenal ulcer disease. However, while ulcer symptoms are infrequent during follow-up, a proportion of patients appear to develop gastrooesophageal reflux after eradication.
Conclusions: H. pylori eradication is highly effective in promoting ulcer healing and preventing subsequent ulcer recurrence. These beneficial effects of eradication therapy are observed in patients with either gastric or duodenal ulcers which are associated with H. pylori infection.