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Keywords:

  • Helicobacter;
  • garlic;
  • treatment;
  • resistance

Abstract

Background.

Resistance of Helicobacter pylori to clarithromycin and metronidazole is now found worldwide. Steam-distilled garlic oil has in vitro activity against H. pylori and may be a useful alternative treatment strategy.

Materials and methods.

In this pilot study dyspeptic patients with positive serology for H. pylori confirmed by 13C urea breath test (UBT), at 0 and 2 weeks, were enrolled. Treatment consisted of one 4 mg garlic oil capsule with a meal four times per day for 14 days. H. pylori eradication was defined as a negative UBT at both follow-up appointments. Suppression was defined as a 50% fall in 13C excess between baseline and follow-up 1.

Results.

Five patients completed the study. There was no evidence of either eradication or suppression of H. pylori or symptom improvement whilst taking garlic oil.

Conclusion.

These negative results show that, within the gastric milieu, garlic oil at this dose does not inhibit H. pylori. A higher dose administered for a longer time-period may be effective. Antibiotics are usually combined with a proton-pump inhibitor or bismuth salt, as the only antibiotic with any in vivo activity against H. pylori in monotherapy is clarithromycin. A proton pump inhibitor raises gastric pH and, by increasing bacterial division, may increase the in vivo activity of garlic oil. This may be worth pursuing in a future trial.