Treatment Options

Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) Treatment

Moderate Value

H. pylori bacteria can live and multiply in the protective coating that lines the stomach and small intestine.  Researchers believe polluted food and water cause H. pylori infection and that it can be spread from person to person through oral contact.  Many people have H. pylori but do not develop ulcers or gastritis.  Indigestion, belching, nausea, bloating or fullness, gnawing or burning abdominal pain are symptoms associated with ulcers and gastritis. Stomach pain may increase when your stomach is empty and improve when you eat.  Various tests (blood, breath, stool, tissue) are available to determine if you have H. pylori.  A blood test is the most common test used to diagnosis the infection.  The breath test or stool test can also be used to determine if the treatment is effective.  In some cases, your doctor may suggest an X-ray of your stomach or an invasive procedure called endoscopy that allows the doctor to see the stomach and take a tiny piece of tissue to view under a microscope.  You and your doctor should discuss which test is best for you.

Treatment for ulcers caused by H. pylori is different then the treatment for ulcers caused by heavy aspirin use or long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs.  H. pylori infection can be difficult to treat and requires the use of more than one medication.  A combination of antibiotics may be used for one or two weeks along with antacids or acid blockers to decrease stomach acid.  Talk with your doctor to decide which drug combinations are the best choice for you.

Examples of drugs that may be used for combination therapy as treatment for H. pylori may include:

  • Amoxicillin, an antibiotic penicillin that fights bacteria
  • Clarithromycin, an antibiotic macrolide that also fights bacteria
  • Lansoprazole (i.e. Prevacid), which decreases the amount of acid produced in your stomach

Things to Consider

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), is a type of bacteria.
  • Thirty percent of the adult population in the United States is infected with H. pylori.
  • One out of six people with H. pylori infection develop ulcers.
  • Untreated H. pylori infection can lead to stomach ulcers and chronic gastritis. It has been linked to stomach cancer and possible immune thrombocytopenia.
  • Genetic inheritance, abnormal immune response in the intestines, certain lifestyles habits - like smoking and drinking coffee - can increase your risk for developing an ulcer.

Results

Moderate Value

Will I live longer if I have treatment?

Yes, if you develop H. pylori infection, effective treatment can prevent the recurrence of ulcers and perhaps the development of cancer.

Will the treatment of H. pylori improve my quality of life?

Yes, treatment for H. pylori may improve your quality of life by preventing the development of ulcerations, gastritis and / or possible stomach cancer and possible immune thrombocytopenia.

Does the treatment of H. pylori make my symptoms better?

Yes, medications used to treat H. pylori infection may relieve the symptoms associated with ulcers and gastritis.

Safety

Moderate Value

How safe is H. pylori treatment for me?

Side effects from these medications may vary from person to person. Some reported side effects are listed below.

Minor reported complications:

  • Black color on the tongue
  • Dark colored stool
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth or increased thirst
  • Unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Yeast infection (vaginal itching or discharge)

Major reported complications:

  • Allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of throat; hives; swelling of your lips, tongue, throat or face)
  • Possible thrombocytopenia

Comparison

Significant Value

No evidence exists showing that homeopathic remedies or natural supplements can cure H. pylori.

Cost

Moderate Value

The cost of treatment for H. pylori infections can vary depending on the treatment your doctor prescribes and the area of the country in which you live. Speak with your doctor regarding generic medications. Generic equivalents have the same active ingredients as name brands and are usually less expensive.

The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.

Sources

The following are off-site links off-site link :

Drug Information Online. (2012, October). Amoxicillin, clarithromycin, and lansoprazole. Retrieved July 8, 2014 from http://www.drugs.com/mtm/amoxicillin__clarithromycin__and_lansoprazole.html.

KidsHealth®. (2012, September). Helicobacter pylori. Retrieved July 8, 2014 from http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/stomach/h_pylori.html.

MayoClinic.com. (2013, July Peptic ulcer. Retrieved July 8, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/peptic-ulcer/DS00242/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print.

MayoClinic.com. (2014, June). H. pylori infection. Retrieved July 8, 2014 fromhttp://www.mayoclinic.com/health/h-pylori/DS00958/METHOD=print.

Next Review Date

8/14/2015

This document has been classified as public information.

Table of Findings

results:  moderate value

safety:  moderate value

comparison:  significant value

cost: moderate value


total: moderate value

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Page modified:November 9, 2012