Cochrane Summaries

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Antibiotics for people with peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection

Ford AC, Delaney B, Forman D, Moayyedi P
Published Online: 
19 January 2011

Peptic ulcers are caused by acidic stomach juices damaging the lining of the stomach (gastric ulcer) or upper small intestine (duodenal ulcer). This causes pain, indigestion and sometimes, bleeding. Ulcers can return after being healed, especially if the person is infected with Helicobacter pylori (a lifelong infection unless treated). Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) causes most peptic ulcers. The review of trials found that antibiotics for H. pylori have a small benefit in initial healing of duodenal ulcers and a significant benefit in preventing the recurrence of both gastric and duodenal ulcers once healing has been achieved. In summary, when people with peptic ulcers have Helicobacter pylori infection, antibiotic treatment can help speed initial healing of some ulcers and can prevent ulcers returning