Refractory Helicobacter pylori infection in Australia: updated multicentre antimicrobial resistance

Jonathon P. Schubert, Paul R. Ingram, Morgyn S. Warner, Christopher K. Rayner, Ian C. Roberts-Thomson, Samuel P. Costello, Robert V. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aim: Helicobacter pylori infection is responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide and eradication rates are falling globally because of increasing antimicrobial resistance. However, there is a paucity of local data to guide the choice of eradication therapy in Australia. This study aimed to evaluate current Australian rates of H. pylori antibiotic resistance in patients who had failed prior eradication therapy. Methods: A retrospective analysis of routine culture and antibiotic susceptibility data from two pathology laboratories servicing multiple tertiary referral hospitals in Western Australia (WA) and South Australia (SA), between 2018 and 2022, was performed. Rates of antimicrobial resistance and prevalence of multiresistant isolates in both SA and WA were calculated and comparison of temporal trends and differences between the two states was conducted. Results: A total of 796 H. pylori isolates revealed a clarithromycin resistance rate of 82%, metronidazole 68%, amoxicillin 4.4% and tetracycline 0.5%. Resistance to levofloxacin was observed in 22% and rifampicin 14%. Rates of resistance to clarithromycin were lower in SA compared with WA (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 0.69, P = 0.0001). Multiresistant isolates were discovered in 63% of patients, with lower rates in SA compared with WA (IRR: 0.74, P = 0.002). Conclusion: This first multicentre, multistate study of H. pylori resistance in Australian patients exposed to prior therapy demonstrated high rates of antimicrobial resistance, including levofloxacin (>20%). This raises concern about recommending levofloxacin in empirical second-line therapies. Increased monitoring and awareness of current H. pylori resistance rates in Australia are needed to guide local eradication practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1972-1978
Number of pages7
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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