Background and aims: Quadruple therapy is recommended as second-line treatment for Helicobacter pylori eradication failure. However, high cost, multiple side effects, and low adherence rates are major drawbacks to its routine use. Our aim was to compare the efficacy and safety of sequential versus quadruple regimens as second line treatment for persistent Helicobacter pylori infection. Methods: Prospective, randomized, open label trial was conducted at a large academic, tertiary care center in Israel. Patients who previously failed a standard triple treatment eradication course were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive a 10-day sequential therapy course, or a 14-day quadruple regimen. Compliance and adverse events were evaluated by telephone questionnaires. The primary endpoint for analysis was the rate of Helicobacter pylori eradication as defined by either a negative 13C-urea breath-test, or stool antigen test, 4–16 weeks after treatment assessed under the non-inferiority hypothesis. The trial was terminated prematurely due to low recruitment rates. See S1 Checklist for CONSORT checklist. Results: One hundred and one patients were randomized. Per modified intention-to-treat analysis, eradication rate was 49% in the sequential versus 42.5% in the quadruple regimen group (p-value for non-inferiority 0.02). Forty-two (84.0%) versus 33 (64.7%) patients completed treatment in the sequential and quadruple groups respectively (p 0.027). Gastrointestinal side effects were more common in the quadruple regimen group. Conclusion: Sequential treatment when used as a second line regimen, was non-inferior to the standard of care quadruple regimen in achieving Helicobacter pylori eradication, and was associated with better compliance and fewer adverse effects. Both treatment protocols failed to show an adequate eradication rate in the population of Southern Israel. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01481844.
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