Hmmmm, “does H pylori triple therapy treatment work” is a tricky question to answer because in some cases it’s “yes” and in other it’s “no”.
This video and blog post explains why H pylori triple therapy treatment MIGHT work for you, and why it may also leave you disappointed.
I just want to show you the other side of the antibiotic argument – the side your doc might not give you.
Like much of the other information on this website, this article is evidence-based, meaning it’s not my opinion, but is based on analysis of the scientific literature.
I recommend you watch the video first, then read the article – it will take about 10 minutes of your time, but it’s well worth it.
Triple therapy is the “front line” treatment regimen used to treat H pylori.
It consists of two antibiotics and an acid blocker called a proton pump inhibitor, or PPI.
Many years ago it was found that a single antibiotic on its own wasn’t very effective against H pylori, and that a combination brought much better results.
Specific antibiotics used in triple therapy include:
Amoxicillin, Clarithromycin and Metronidazole are the most frequently used.
The PPI medication reduces your stomach acid level, which makes the antibiotics more effective and, theoretically at least, reduces symptoms and improves digestive healing.
The PPI molecules have names like:
…and they come in brand names like Nexium and Prilosec.
All these drugs have their place, but each one can cause problems.
In triple therapy you take TWO of the antibiotics with ONE of the PPIs.
OK, let’s get back to the main question and use a quote from a 2012 article in the British Medical Journal (1)
I have underlined the important bits:
“The triple treatment including PPI-clarithromycin and amoxicillin or metronidazole proposed at the first Maastricht conference to treat H pylori infection has become universal since it was recommended by all the consensus conferences held around the world. However, the most recent data show that this combination has lost some efficacy and often allows the cure of only a maximum of 70% of the patients, which is less than the 80% rate aimed for at the beginning and far below what should be expected for an infectious disease.”
What it’s saying is that globally, the H pylori cure rate using the clarithromycin combined with either amoxicillin or metronidazole does NOT work for 3 in 10 people.
I have read individual studies where the cure rate was as low as 50%, meaning that half the people taking triple therapy did not eradicate their H pylori.
The four biggest reasons for treatment failure are:
Antibiotic resistance is a big problem, but it’s different depending on which region you live in.
Resistance rates to antibiotics differ depending on whether you’re in Japan, Europe, North America and so on.
Yes, it can get a bit confusing!
Toss of a coin…
So really, when you’re prescribed H pylori triple therapy, you’re tossing coin in terms of whether you’re going to be successful.
Don’t get me wrong, some people feel amazing after completing triple therapy treatment, but it’s certainly not the case for everyone!
…it’s a problem because many doctors still blindly believe that triple therapy H pylori treatment always works.
…it’s a problem because in addition to treatment failure, the antibiotics can cause side-effects.
…it’s a problem because the treatment can trigger other problems including Candida, Clostridium difficile and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
…it’s a problem because antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and it could get worse.
On this final point, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that we’ve vastly overused antibiotics.
Many times they are used inappropriately and on an ad hoc basis to treat viruses that don’t respond to antibiotics.
Each time antibiotics are used, the risk of developing resistance in your microbiome (the sum total of microbes in your body) is increased.
Then, when you REALLY need antibiotics for a serious infection, they may not work.
For more info on this topic, it’s worth reading “The Drugs Don’t Work” by Dame Prof. Sally Davis (England’s chief medical officer) and “Missing Microbes” by Dr. Martin Blazer.
In most people, H pylori does need treating when it’s detected because as you know, it’s associated with some nasty diseases as well as causing unpleasant day-to-day symptoms.
Antibiotics are easy and convenient – you just pop pills.
They work, about half to three quarters of the time depending on where you live, and which ones you take.
In some countries you can get them for pretty much zero out-of-pocket expense (e.g the U.K.), and in others the meds are covered by insurance policies (e.g. the U.S.)
So taking antibiotics has some pretty cool advantages.
BUT, the shadow side of antibiotics for H pylori is:
Another drawback of using antibiotics and just assuming they’ll fix everything is that they do nothing to repair collateral damage.
H pylori can cause some serious damage in your digestive system, which I’ve written about in detail elsewhere.
Damaged stomach and intestinal tissue, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, reduced vitamin C levels and low stomach acid are five definite problems caused by H pylori that don’t magically improve just because it’s removed.
I am walking proof that you don’t need H pylori triple therapy treatment to win your battle against H pylori.
I got rid of it twice using herbs.
Alternative approaches demand a little more work on your part – a commitment to changing your diet, spending some money on supplements, and making some adjustments to your lifestyle.
But the rewards are spectacular because not only do you clear H pylori, but also address many other reasons why you might not be feeling well in the process.
This brings me on to my final point:
Getting rid of H pylori is one thing, but overcoming your symptoms might be something completely different.
Having worked with well over 2,000 people on a one-on-one basis, I can tell you with certainty that there’s a chance H pylori isn’t the only reason you feel well.
I had Blastocystis hominis and Aspergillus in my gut, and only when I dealt with them did my symptoms fully resolve.
Taking triple therapy won’t resolve your symptoms if H pylori isn’t causing them and this is where an alternative approach may be helpful.
To be clear, I’m not trying to dissuade you from taking triple therapy antibiotics for H pylori.
They work really well for a lot of people!
As I said at the top, I just want to show you the other side of the argument – the side your doc might not give you.
And if you’d like some individual one-on-one help via ato carve through any confusion and frustration you might be having with your symptoms, we’re pretty good at lending an ear and making things simple for you.
Click here to learn more about our consulting service and how we can help.
Whatever you choose to do, I wish you all the very best on your journey.
Join the discussion!
Have you had trouble with H pylori triple therapy treatment?
Did it work for you, or not?
And did you have any side effects?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!