June 25, 2016

Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori)

Why treat H. pylori?

Chronic infection with H. pylori weakens the natural defenses of the lining of the stomach to the ulcerating action of acid. Medications that neutralize stomach acid (antacids), and medications that decrease the secretion of acid in the stomach (H2-blockers and proton pump inhibitors or PPIs) have been used effectively for many years to treat ulcers.

H2-blockers include

  • ranitidine (Zantac),
  • famotidine (Pepcid),
  • cimetidine (Tagamet), and
  • nizatidine (Axid).

PPIs include

  • omeprazole (Prilosec),
  • lansoprazole (Prevacid),
  • rabeprazole (Aciphex),
  • pantoprazole (Protonix), and
  • esomeprazole (Nexium).

Antacids, H2-blockers and PPIs, however, do not eradicate H. pylori from the stomach, and ulcers frequently return promptly after these medications are discontinued. Hence, antacids, H2-blockers or PPIs have to be taken daily for many years to prevent the return of the ulcers and the complications of ulcers such as bleeding, perforation, and obstruction of the stomach. Even such long-term treatments can fail. Eradication of H. pylori, however, usually prevents the return of ulcers and ulcer complications even after appropriate medications such as PPIs are stopped. Eradication of H. pylori also is important in the treatment of the rare condition known as MALT lymphoma of the stomach. Treatment of H. pylori to prevent stomach cancer is controversial and discussed later in this article. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 10/20/2015
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