Published online Feb 14, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i6.1493
Revised: November 3, 2013
Accepted: January 6, 2014
Published online: February 14, 2014
New 2013 guidelines on Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection have been published in China, Japan, and South Korea. Like the previous ones, these new guidelines differ between the three countries with regard to the indications for H. pylori eradication, diagnostic methods, and treatment regimens. The most profound change among all of the guidelines is that the Japanese national health insurance system now covers the expenses for all infected subjects up to second-line treatment. This makes the Japanese indications for eradication much wider than those in China and South Korea. With regard to the diagnosis, a serum H. pylori antibody test is not recommended in China, whereas it is considered to be the most reliable method in Japan. A decrease relative to the initial antibody titer of more than 50% after 6-12 mo is considered to be the most accurate method for determining successful eradication in Japan. In contrast, only the urea breath test is recommended after eradication in China, while either noninvasive or invasive methods (except the bacterial culture) are recommended in South Korea. Due to the increased rate of antibiotics resistance, first-line treatment is omitted in China and South Korea in cases of clarithromycin resistance. Notably, the Japanese regimen consists of a lower dose of antibiotics for a shorter duration (7 d) than in the other countries. There is neither 14 d nor bismuth-based regimen in the first-line and second-line treatment in Japan. Such differences among countries might be due to differences in the approvals granted by the governments and national health insurance system in each country. Further studies are required to achieve the best results in the diagnosis and treatment of H. pylori infection based on cost-effectiveness in East Asian countries.
Core tip: Considerable advances in shifting from secondary prevention to primary prevention of gastric cancer are notable in the new 2013 guidelines from China, Japan, and South Korea. Compared to the previous guidelines, indications for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) eradication have expanded to include younger populations with acute gastric lesions, who will show markedly greater improvements than older populations with chronic gastric lesions. The indications of eradication, diagnostic methods, and treatment regimens for H. pylori infection differ between the countries due to differences in the approvals granted by the governments and national health insurance system in each country.