Helicobacter pylori Infection and Eradication in Paediatric Patients

Malaty, H.M.
September 2000
Pediatric Drugs;Sep/Oct2000, Vol. 2 Issue 5, p357
Academic Journal
Helicobacter pylori is now recognised to be typically acquired during childhood. Studies also indicate that the infection is frequently lost in childhood; however, it is still unclear whether this is related to the use of antibacterials, the natural history of the infection, or both. H. pylori colonises gastric mucosa and is causally related to chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease in both children and adults. Successful eradication of H. pylori has resulted in the healing of duodenal ulcers and the lowering of the ulcer relapse rate in children. Therapy to cure the infection should be started in all children with peptic (duodenal or gastric) ulcer who are still infected. The ideal anti-H. pylori regimen should be safe, cheap, easy to comply with, well tolerated by children and able to achieve a high cure rate. Although US data are lacking, it is anticipated that the treatment regimen for children should be similar to that in adults (a triple therapy regimen that combines a proton pump inhibitor with 2 antimicrobial agents for 14 days). It is inappropriate to prescribe anti-H. H. pylori therapy without a firm diagnosis. The use of multiple antibacterials in a paediatric patient with an ulcer but without H. pylori infection cannot provide any benefit to the patient or the community. Such an approach only provides the possibility for adverse effects, for example development of antibacterial resistance among bystander bacteria. It is very important to confirm the diagnosis of H. pylori infection. The [C]urea breath test is the noninvasive method of choice to determine H. pylori status in children and the ideal test for post-therapy testing. There is a need for post-therapy confirmation because of the likelihood of poor outcome for some treatment regimens, which is why post-therapy testing should be the standard of care. There is weak and inconsistent evidence of an association between H. pylori infection and recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) in children, in part because of the unclear definition of RAP in the literature. Therefore, there is still considerable debate regarding the treatment of infected children with RAP.


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