Standard treatment for H. pylori involves a combination of antibiotics, proton-pump inhibitors and bismuth subsalicylate, according to MedicineNet. Because H. pylori in the stomach develop resistance to common antibiotics, typical treatment requires a combination of two or more antibiotics.
The combination of drugs used to treat H. pylori varies, explains MedicineNet. A common combination includes amoxicillin and clarithromycin along with a proton-pump inhibitor. Another combination includes tetracycline, metronidazole, bismuth subsalicylate and a protein-pump inhibitor. Treatment length varies by prescribed course but usually runs for 10 to 14 days.
Following treatment, doctors may order a stool antigen or urea breath test, states MedicineNet. These tests confirm the eradication of H. pylori from the body. Eradication testing is particularly vital if H. pylori caused complications such as bleeding or perforations in the duodenum or the stomach. If the treatment course failed to eradicate the bacterium, additional treatment usually involves a different combination of medications.
If H. pylori causes no problems, some doctors do not recommend treatment, since the combination of medicines used in treatment can cause side effects, notes MedicineNet. However, doctors recommend treatment for patients with ulcers or MALT lymphoma. Some doctors argue, however, that all people infected require treatment because the infection can lead to atrophic gastritis and cell changes that may cause stomach cancer.