Antibiotic resistance in Helicobacter pylori

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Purpose of review

Treatment of Helicobacter pylori is difficult nowadays because of its high resistance. The prevalence and mechanism of resistance, the different methods to detect it and the clinical implication of resistance were addressed in several research papers last year.

Recent findings

Clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori has been recognized by the WHO as ‘high priority’, for which new antibiotics are needed. Moreover, the Maastricht consensus recommended, in areas with high resistance, that susceptibility tests should be performed, at least after a treatment failure.


Metronidazole and clarithromycin resistance rates are alarming although they vary among populations. Tetracycline and amoxicillin-resistance are very low in most countries. H. pylori resistance can be detected by phenotypic or by molecular methods. Different break points may be used when performing an antimicrobial susceptibility test, so comparing resistance among different populations is challenging. Genomic techniques open new possibilities in the diagnosis of H. pylori, and the detection of H. pylori and its antimicrobial resistance in faeces is an interesting approach. Eradication rates are dependent on the susceptibility of the strain to metronidazole and clarithromycin, being lower in patients infected with a resistant strain.

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