Meta-analysis of bismuth quadruple therapy versus clarithromycin triple therapy for empiric primary treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection

Marino Venerito, Tina Krieger, Thomas Ecker, Gioacchino Leandro, Peter Malfertheiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In areas with high clarithromycin resistance, bismuth quadruple therapy (BQT) is recommended instead of clarithromycin triple therapy (CTT) as the first-line treatment for Helicobacter pylori eradication. Methods: Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing BQT to CTT were identified through electronic and manual searches. A meta-analysis was performed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of these two regimens as first-line treatments for H. pylori infection. The effect of antibiotic resistance on treatment efficacy was also analyzed. Results: Twelve RCTs were included. BQT achieved eradication in 77.6% of patients, whereas CTT achieved an eradication rate of 68.9% [risk difference (RD) = 0.06, 95% CI: -0.01/0.13]. A high heterogeneity among the trials was found (χ2 = 50.16, p <0.00001; I2 = 78%). In the subgroup analysis for treatment duration, the 10-day BQT was more effective than the 7-day CTT (RD = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.18/0.32), whereas no differences were observed between CTT and BQT given for 7 or 10 days. There were no statistical differences in side effects and compliance between both therapies (RD = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.76/1.12, and RD = -0.03, 95% CI: -0.05/0.00, respectively). The effect of antibiotic resistance on eradication rates was reported in 4 of the 12 RCTs. Clarithromycin resistance significantly affected the efficacy of CTT (RD = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.63/0.87), whereas BQT efficacy was not affected by metronidazole resistance (RD = 0.09, 95% CI: -0.06/0.25). Conclusions: The 10-day BQT was more effective than the 7-day CTT as a first-line therapy for H. pylori infection, whereas BQT and CTT for 7 or 10 days yielded similar eradication rates. Compliance and side effect rates were similar for both therapies. BQT overcomes clarithromycin resistance and its efficacy is not affected by metronidazole resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-45
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Quadruple therapy
  • Triple therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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