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Background.

There are persuasive arguments for treating all patients with Helicobacter pylori– associated peptic ulcer disease. However, the choice of therapeutic regimen remains problematical. Bismuth triple therapy produces greater than 80% cure of H. pylori infection, whereas omeprazole and bismuth quadruple therapy has produced cure rates in excess of 90%. Colloidal bismuth is not available in many countries, hence limiting the use of bismuth-based therapeutic regimens. We substituted widely available sucralfate for bismuth in a quadruple-therapy regimen.

Method.

We studied 223 consecutive patients with gastritis or peptic ulcer disease in whom H. pyori infection was confirmed by CLOtest (Delta West Ltd., Bentley, WA, Australia) or histological assessment. Successful therapy was validated by the 14C urea breath test 4 to 6 weeks after therapy. Omeprazole, 20 mg was given twice daily for 10 days. After 3 days of omeprazole sucralfate (1 gm qid), tetracycline (500 mg qid) and metronidazole (400 mg tid) were added for 7 days.

Results.

Therapy was successful in 194 of 223 patients(87%). Compliance was excellent, with only two patients being unable to tolerate therapy. Side effects were minimal and included nausea, vomiting, headache, and vaginal moniliasis. At 6 months’ follow-up, 10 of 210 patients (5%) who were previously documented as “cured” had a positive breath test.

Conclusions.

The wide availability of sucralfate in many countries makes it a possible alternative to bismuth for use in proton pump quadruple-therapy regimens, achieving a reasonable cure rate for H. pylori infection.