Background Current ‘rescue’ therapies provide inadequate Helicobacter pylori eradication rates because of antibiotic resistance.
Aim To test the efficacy of a modified triple regimen combining rifabutin, pantoprazole and amoxicillin as rescue therapy for patients in whom eradication of H. pylori had failed standard clarithromycin-based triple therapy.
Methods One hundred and thirty patients (mean age 51.7 ± 14.8 years) who had failed one or more eradication attempts with omeprazole, clarithromycin and amoxicillin were treated for 12 days with rifabutin 150 mg daily, amoxicillin 1 g or 1.5 g t.d.s, and pantoprazole 80 mg t.d.s.
Results The intention-to-treat and per-protocol eradication rates were 90.8/90.8%. Metronidazole or/and clarithromycin resistance had no significant impact on H. pylori eradication rates. A higher overall eradication rate of 96.6% (95% CI: 92.1–101%) was obtained in patients treated with a regimen containing 1.5 g amoxicillin t.d.s compared with 90.7% (95% CI: 82–98.6%) using a regimen with 1 g amoxicillin t.d.s but the difference was not significant. Side-effects reported in 40% of patients were mild.
Conclusion A 12-day course of low dose of rifabutin with an increased dose of amoxicillin and pantoprazole is well-tolerated and highly effective against dual-resistant H. pylori infection after failure of triple therapy.