How is an infection with Helicobacter pylori treated?
Treatment for H pylori bacteria begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have H pylori bacteria, your health care provider will ask you to undergo diagnostic tests.
Antibiotic treatments for H pylori infection
Antibiotic therapy is the mainstay of treatment. It is important to follow your antibiotic regimen precisely to avoid re-infection or recurrence. Most commonly, two antibiotics are given for 14 days. Examples of antibiotic treatments include:
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
Other medications to treat H pylori infection
Medications such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine H2-receptor antagonists, which decrease the amount of acid in the stomach, can also be effective treatments for peptic ulcer caused by H pylori.
Proton pump inhibitors that are effective in the treatment of peptic ulcer include:
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
Histamine H2-receptor antagonists that are effective in the treatment of peptic ulcer include:
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Nizatidine (Axid)
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
If you have diarrhea and vomiting, fluid and electrolyte replenishment is also a component of successful treatment.
What are the potential complications of an infection with Helicobacter pylori?
Left untreated, H pylori bacteria can result in bleeding ulcers, a serious and even life-threatening complication. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of H pylori bacteria include:
- Inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis)
- Perforated ulcer, which can lead to bleeding
- Stomach cancer
- Stomach ulcers
H pylori and peptic ulcers. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/. Accessed May 8, 2011.
What is Helicobacter pylori?
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