H. pylori Eradication Can Result in Significant Weight Gain

May 27, 2003

Martha Kerr

May 27, 2003 (Orlando) — Eradication of Helicobacter pylori in patients with epigastric pain resulted in a significant increase in weight, and this was in a population that was somewhat overweight to begin with, British researchers reported here last week at Digestive Disease Week 2003.

Lead investigator Athene Lane, MD, from Frenchay Hospital and the University of Bristol in the U.K., reported on findings of 10,537 individuals involved in the Bristol Helicobacter Project, a community-based, randomized, controlled study designed to evaluate the effects of H. pylori eradication.

Of the total number of individuals involved, 1,634 subjects tested positive for H. pylori on 13C-urea breath testing. These individuals were then randomized to receive either ranitidine bismuth citrate 400 mg twice daily plus clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily for two weeks or placebo. Height and weight were measured at baseline and then at a six-month follow-up visit. All subjects also answered a questionnaire about dyspepsia symptoms before and after treatment.

Average body mass was 77.2 kg at baseline and 75.9 kg at the six-month mark, with subjects on active treatment gaining an average of 0.6 kg more than subjects randomized to placebo, Dr. Lane reported.

In total, 19% of patients receiving active treatment gained 3 kg or more compared with 13% of patients receiving placebo. Dr. Lane told Medscape that subjects who reported the greatest symptom relief after eradication therapy were those most likely to gain weight. "Weight gain was presumably the result of symptom relief," she said.

"General practitioners may want to warn their patients about what they eat [after treatment for H. pylori infection]," Dr. Lane continued. "They may want to caution them...because this was a significant amount of weight gain in many patients."

DDW 2003: Abstract W1064. Presented May 21, 2003.

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

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