Background. First-line proton pump inhibitor-based triple and quadruple therapies for Helicobacter pylori eradication present similar levels of efficacy. Cross-over treatment (quadruple following triple failure, and triple following quadruple failure) seems the most sensible approach to treatment failures, but the two strategies - 'quadruple first' versus 'triple first' - have not been previously compared. The aims of our study were to assess the usefulness and the cost-effectiveness of the two treatment strategies. Material and methods. Forty-nine out of 344 patients included in a previous study comparing triple therapy - 7 days of omeprazole, amoxicillin and clarithromycin twice a day - with quadruple therapy - 7 days of omeprazole twice a day, plus tetracycline, metronidazole and bismuth subcitrate three times a day - failed initial treatment and were assigned to cross-over therapy. Cure was determined by urea breath test. A decision analysis was performed to compare the two eradication strategies. Results. Intention to treat cure rates were 46% (10/ 22 patients; 95% CI 24-68%) for second-line triple therapy and 63% (17/27 patients; 95% CI 42-81%) for second-line quadruple therapy. Per protocol cure rates were 71% and 85%, respectively. Intention to treat cure rates were 87% (95% CI 81-92%) for the 'triple first' versus 86% (95% CI 80-91%) for the 'quadruple first' strategy (p = .87). The 'quadruple first' strategy was more cost-effective. The incremental cost of 'triple first' strategy per person was 19 € in the low-cost area and 65 US$ in the high-cost area. Conclusions. The effectiveness of 'triple first' and 'quadruple first' strategies is similar, although the latter seems slightly more cost-effective.
- Helicobacter pylori