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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1996 Mar;37(3):473-81.

Clarithromycin resistance in Helicobacter pylori: prevalence in untreated dyspeptic patients and stability in vitro.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, St. James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.


Susceptibilities to clarithromycin and metronidazole of 444 Helicobacter pylori isolates cultured from antral biopsies of 444 dyspeptic patients were determined by disc diffusion tests (15 mu g disc for clarithromycin, 5 mu g disc for metronidazole). Susceptibility of 46 of these isolates to erythromycin (5 mu g disc) was also tested. Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of clarithromycin for 42 selected isolates were determined by a plate dilution method. A zone diameter of 30 mm was defined as a 'cut-off' size differentiating susceptibility and resistance of the organism to clarithromycin, by comparing results obtained with the two methods. Of the 444 isolates, 424 (95.5%) were highly sensitive to clarithromycin, with zone diameters ranging from 30 to 98 mm. Twenty isolates (4.5%) were defined as resistant to clarithromycin, with zone diameters ranging between 6 and 28 mm. The incidence of clarithromycin resistance was similar in men and women and in different age groups, and was not significantly different between patients with peptic ulcer and non-ulcer dyspepsia. Among the 444 isolates, 168 (37.8%) were metronidazole resistant. There was cross resistance between clarithromycin and erythromycin, but not between clarithromycin and metronidazole. Stability of clarithromycin resistance was evaluated by the disc diffusion test and confirmed by the plate dilution method. Among the 20 clarithromycin-resistant isolates, nine (45%) reverted to be sensitive after 25 subcultures on drug-free agar. The findings in this study indicate that the incidence of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori in untreated dyspeptic patients is low. Cross-resistance occurs between macrolides and resistance to clarithromycin in some strains is reversible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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