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Background:

Acid suppression plus two antibiotics is considered the reference anti-Helicobacter pylori treatment. Reported eradication rates are around 65–80%. Human Lactobacillus acidophilus shows an in vitro inhibitory effect on the attachment of H. pylori to gastric epithelial cell lines. Culture supernatant of this bacillus seems to decrease the in vitro viability of H. pylori.

Aim:

To evaluate whether the supplementation with an inactivated preparation of L. acidophilus could improve the efficacy of a standard anti-H. pylori therapy.

Methods:

One-hundred and twenty H. pylori-positive patients were randomly assigned to a 7-day triple therapy based on rabeprazole (20 mg b.d.), clarithromycin (250 mg t.d.s.) and amoxicillin (500 mg t.d.s.) (RCA group: 60 subjects), or to the same regimen supplemented with a lyophilized and inactivated culture of Lactobacillus acidophilus (t.d.s.) (RCAL group: 60 subjects).

Results:

In the RCA group, eradication was successful in 72% (42 out of 58 patients) from a per protocol (PP) analysis, or 70% (42 out of 60 patients) using an intention-to treat (ITT) analysis. In the RCAL group a significant increase in the eradication rate was observed: 88% (52 out of 59 patients) from PP analysis (P=0.03), 87% (52 out of 60 patients) from ITT analysis (P=0.02).

Conclusions:

These results seem to confirm the in vitro anti-H. pylori effect of L. acidophilus, suggesting that the inactivated L. acidophilus could be effective in increasing eradication rates of a standard anti-H. pylori therapy.