Several meta-analyses assessing the efficacy of anti-Helicobacter pylori treatment in adults have been published but a comparable meta-analysis in children is lacking.Aims
To summarize the efficacy of treatments aimed at eradicating H. pylori in children and to identify sources of variation in treatment efficacy across studies.Methods
We searched Medline, reference lists from published study reports, and conference proceedings for anti-H. pylori treatment trials in children. Weighted meta-regression models were used to find sources of variation in efficacy.Results
Eighty studies (127 treatment arms) with 4436 children were included. Overall, methodological quality of these studies was poor with small sample sizes and few randomized-controlled trials. The efficacy of therapies varied across treatment arms, treatment duration, method of post-treatment assessment and geographic location. Among the regimens tested, 2–6 weeks of nitroimidazole and amoxicillin, 1–2 weeks of clarithromycin, amoxicillin and a proton pump inhibitor, and 2 weeks of a macrolide, a nitroimidazole and a proton pump inhibitor or bismuth, amoxicillin and metronidazole were the most efficacious in developed countries.Conclusions
Before worldwide treatment recommendations are given for eradication of H. pylori, additional well-designed randomized placebo-controlled paediatric trials are needed, especially in developing countries where both drug resistance and disease burden is high.