Background & Aims: We aimed to compare the efficacy of genotypic resistance–guided therapy vs empirical therapy for eradication of refractory Helicobacter pylori infection in randomized controlled trials. Methods: We performed 2 multicenter, open-label trials of patients with H pylori infection (20 years or older) failed by 2 or more previous treatment regimens, from October 2012 through September 2017 in Taiwan. The patients were randomly assigned to groups given genotypic resistance–guided therapy for 14 days (n = 21 in trial 1, n = 205 in trial 2) or empirical therapy according to medication history for 14 days (n = 20 in trial 1, n = 205 in trial 2). Patients received sequential therapy containing esomeprazole and amoxicillin for the first 7 days, followed by esomeprazole and metronidazole, with levofloxacin, clarithromycin, or tetracycline (doxycycline in trial 1, tetracycline in trial 2) for another 7 days (all given twice daily) based on genotype markers of resistance determined from gastric biopsy specimens (group A) or empirical therapy according to medication history. Resistance-associated mutations in 23S ribosomal RNA or gyrase A were identified by polymerase chain reaction with direct sequencing. Eradication status was determined by 13C-urea breath test. The primary outcome was eradication rate. Results: H pylori infection was eradicated in 17 of 21 (81%) patients receiving genotype resistance–guided therapy and 12 of 20 (60%) patients receiving empirical therapy (P =.181) in trial 1. This trial was terminated ahead of schedule due to the low rate of eradication in patients given doxycycline sequential therapy (15 of 26 [57.7%]). In trial 2, H pylori infection was eradicated in 160 of 205 (78%) patients receiving genotype resistance–guided therapy and 148 of 205 (72.2%) patients receiving empirical therapy (P =.170), according to intent to treat analysis. The frequencies of adverse effects and compliance did not differ significantly between groups. Conclusions: Properly designed empirical therapy, based on medication history, is an acceptable alternative to genotypic resistance–guided therapy for eradication of refractory H pylori infection after consideration of accessibility, cost, and patient preference. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT01725906.
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