Once atrophic gastritis is diagnosed, treatment can be directed (1) to eliminate the causal agent, which is a possibility in cases of H pylori–associated atrophic gastritis; (2) to correct complications of the disease, especially in patients with autoimmune atrophic gastritis who develop pernicious anemia (in whom vitamin B-12 replacement therapy is indicated); or (3) to attempt to reverse the atrophic process.
No consensus from different studies exists regarding the reversibility of atrophic gastritis; however, removal of H pylori from the already atrophic stomach may block further progression of the disease. Until recently, specific recommendations for H pylori eradication were limited to peptic ulcer disease. At the Digestive Health Initiative International Update Conference on H pylori held in the United States, the recommendations for H pylori testing and treatment were broadened. H pylori testing and eradication of the infection also were recommended after resection of early gastric cancer and for low-grade mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma.
If H pylori is identified as the underlying cause of gastritis, subsequent eradication now is almost generally an accepted practice. Protocols for H pylori eradication require a combination of antimicrobial agents and antisecretory agents, such as a proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), ranitidine bismuth citrate (RBC), or bismuth subsalicylate. Despite the combinatorial effect of drugs in regimens used to treat H pylori infection, cure rates remain, at best, 80-95%.
Lack of patient compliance and antimicrobial resistance are the most important factors influencing poor outcome. Currently, the most widely used and efficient therapies to eradicate H pylori are triple therapies (recommended as first-line treatments) and quadruple therapies (recommended as second-line treatment when triple therapies fail to eradicate H pylori). In both cases, the best results are achieved by administering therapy for 10-14 days, although some studies have recommended the duration of treatment of 7 days. The accepted definition of cure is no evidence of H pylori 4 or more weeks after ending the antimicrobial therapy.
Triple therapy, with indicated adult dose
Twice-a-day (bid) PPI or RBC triple therapies include lansoprazole (Prevacid), 30 mg PO bid; omeprazole (Prilosec), 20 mg PO bid; or RBC (Tritec), 400 mg bid. Antibiotic therapy includes clarithromycin (Biaxin), 500 mg PO bid; amoxicillin, 1000 mg PO bid; or metronidazole, 500 mg PO bid.
Pack kits containing combination triple therapies are available as combinations of lansoprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin (PrevPac) and bismuth subsalicylate, tetracycline, and metronidazole (Helidac). PrevPac contains drug combinations in the dosage recommended as first-line treatment by the Maastricht 2-2000 Consensus report from Europe. Note the following:
PrevPac components include lansoprazole (Prevacid), 30 mg PO bid; clarithromycin (Biaxin), 500 mg PO bid; and amoxicillin, 1000 mg PO bid.
Helidac triple-therapy components include bismuth subsalicylate, 525 mg (two 262.4-mg chewable tabs) 4 times per day (qid); metronidazole, 250 mg qid; and tetracycline HCL, 500 mg qid.
Quadruple therapy, with indicated adult dose
Quadruple therapy, with indicated adult dose is a PPI bid, including lansoprazole (Prevacid), 30 mg PO bid or omeprazole (Prilosec), 20 mg PO bid, and antibiotics, including tetracycline HCl, 500 mg PO qid; bismuth subsalicylate, 120 mg PO qid; and metronidazole, 500 mg PO 3 times per day (tid).
Handle subsequent H pylori eradication failures on a case-by-case basis.
Epidemiologic studies of H pylori–associated chronic gastritis show that acquisition of the infection is associated with large crowded households and lower socioeconomic status.
Well-defined measures to prevent infection are not established.
Guidelines for follow-up care for cases of atrophic gastritis are not established.
If the patient was treated for H pylori infection, confirm eradication. Perform evaluation of eradication at least 4 weeks after the end of treatment. Eradication may be assessed by noninvasive methods, such as the urea breath test.
Follow-up care may be individualized depending on findings during endoscopy. For example, if dysplasia is found at endoscopy, increased surveillance is necessary.
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