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Ulcers caused by bacteria? New concept in gastroenterology.


Researchers report that peptic ulcers may frequently be caused by a type of bacteria known as Campylobacter pylori. Because peptic ulcers have historically been associated with genetic, emotional, endocrine or vascular factors, this startling announcement could revolutionize much of the treatment for ulcers if an effective antibiotic can be developed to counteract the bacteria.

Peptic ulcers had been viewed as resulting from excess secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach that damaged its mucosa (lining). Now it appears the activity of the C. pylori may be the primary cause of the mucosal damage. Multiple numbers of investigators have discovered that the condition of persons with gastritis (stomach inflammation) improves once the organism that caused the discomfort has been destroyed. They also found that peptic ulcers healed more rapidly and reappeared less frequently when the C. pylori infection was eliminated, as compared to when the peptic ulcer was treated with antacids or such histamine receptor blockers as Tagamet or Zantac.

Until an antibiotic is developed to permanently destroy the organism, present therapy, using amoxicillin, metronidazole and bismuth subsalicylate in combination--which destroys the bacteria in most individuals, but doesn't provide a permanent cure--will have to do. Researchers predict, however, that medical approaches to peptic ulcer treatment will change remarkably within the next five years. (Medical World News, July 24, 1989; 30:14:65.)
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Title Annotation:Campylobacter pylori
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Sep 1, 1989
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