Background: Helicobacter pylori is a human pathogen responsible for serious diseases including peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. The recommended triple therapy included clarithromycin but increasing resistance has undermined its effectiveness. It is therefore important to be aware of the local prevalence of antimicrobial resistance to adjust treatment strategy.
Materials and Methods: Overall, 530 biopsies were collected between 2004 and 2007. The antimicrobial susceptibility of H. pylori was determined by E-test and molecular methods.
Results: Among these, 138/530 (26%) strains were resistant to clarithromycin, 324/530 (61%) to metronidazole and 70/530 (13.2%) to ciprofloxacin. Whereas no resistance against amoxicillin and tetracycline was observed, only one strain was resistant to rifampicin. Compared to the patients never treated for H. pylori infection, the prevalence of resistance was significantly higher in patients previously treated (19.1% vs 68% for clarithromycin; 13.2% vs 53.3% for both clarithromycin and metronidazole). The trend analysis revealed an increase of primary resistance to ciprofloxacin between 2004 and 2005 (7.3%) vs 2006–2007 (14.1%) (p = .04) and the secondary resistance reached 22.7% in 2007. Interestingly, 27 biopsies (19.6%) contained a double population of clarithromycin-susceptible and -resistant strains.
Conclusions: The reported high prevalence of clarithromycin and multiple resistances of H. pylori suggest that the empiric therapy with clarithromycin should be abandoned as no longer pretreatment susceptibility testing has assessed the susceptibility of the strain. As culture and antibiogram are not routinely performable in most clinical laboratories, the use of molecular test should be developed to allow a wide availability of pretreatment susceptibility testing.