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Efficacy of Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy for functional dyspepsia: updated systematic review and meta-analysis


Objective Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a chronic disorder that is difficult to treat. Helicobacter pylori may contribute to its pathophysiology. A Cochrane review from 2006 suggested that eradication therapy was beneficial, but there have been numerous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published since. We evaluated impact of eradication therapy on both cure and improvement of FD, as well as whether any benefit was likely to arise from eradication of H. pylori.

Design We searched the medical literature through October 2021 to identify RCTs examining efficacy of eradication therapy in H. pylori-positive adults with FD. The control arm received antisecretory therapy or prokinetics, with or without placebo antibiotics, or placebo alone. Follow-up was for ≥3 months. We pooled dichotomous data to obtain a relative risk (RR) of symptoms not being cured or symptoms not improving with a 95% CI. We estimated the number needed to treat (NNT).

Results Twenty-nine RCTs recruited 6781 H. pylori-positive patients with FD. Eradication therapy was superior to control for symptom cure (RR of symptoms not being cured=0.91; 95% CI 0.88 to 0.94, NNT=14; 95% CI 11 to 21) and improvement (RR of symptoms not improving=0.84; 95% CI 0.78 to 0.91, NNT=9; 95% CI 7 to 17). There was no significant correlation between eradication rate and RR of FD improving or being cured (Pearson correlation coefficient=−0.23, p=0.907), but the effect was larger in patients with successful eradication of H. pylori than with unsuccessful eradication (RR=0.65; 95% CI 0.52 to 0.82, NNT=4.5, 95% CI 3 to 9). Adverse events (RR=2.19; 95% 1.10 to 4.37) and adverse events leading to withdrawal (RR=2.60; 95% CI 1.47 to 4.58) were more common with eradication therapy.

Conclusion There is high quality evidence to suggest that H. pylori eradication therapy leads to both cure and improvement in FD symptoms, although the benefit is modest.

  • functional dyspepsia
  • meta-analysis
  • helicobacter pylori

Data availability statement

No data are available. Not applicable.

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