HEROES trial

HEROES is definitely a catchy acronym (Arch Intern Med 2011; 171: 1929-36); HEROES is short for Helicobacter eradication relief of dyspeptic symptoms.

In pediatric practice, when Helicobacter pylori infection is identified, efforts are made to eradicate it.  However, studies have not been conclusive about whether this is beneficial for individuals with ‘functional dyspepsia.’  A 2006 Cochrane review of 21 trials found only 6 were positive for eradication.  Previous trials had not focused on primary care patients who may be more prone to respond.  As such, the investigators randomly assigned 404 patients (adults with average age of 46 years) into a group (n=201) treated with antibiotics and a control group (n=203); this was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial at a single center.  All eligible patients had to meet the Rome III criteria for functional dyspepsia and have H pylori infection.  Individuals with heartburn and irritable bowel were excluded. The antibiotic group received omeprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin whereas the control group received omeprazole and placebo –both groups received treatment for 10 days.

In the antibiotic group, 49% achieved at least a 50% reduction in symptoms at 12 months; the control group had a 36.5% response.  Overall, 78.1% of the antibiotic cohort improved compared with 67.5% in the control cohort.

Although the findings of the study indicate improvement with a course of antibiotics, what to do with these results is not clear.  Worldwide, at least 50% of the population is infected by H pylori.  In addition, dyspeptic symptoms afflict up to 40% of the adult population in Western countries.  Due to the enormity of these problems, translating the results of this study into practical treatment strategies is difficult.

Additional references:

  • -JPGN 2011; 52: 387. Impact of Rome III criteria on yield. Still 2.8% w/o alarm symptoms that had significant endoscopic findings.
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2008; 6: 746. Antidepressant venlafaxine not effective in functional dyspepsia in double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. n=160.
  • -Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006; (2): CD002096. Rx of H pylori in functional dyspepsia.
  • -Gastroenterology 2007; 133: 799. Natural hx of functional disorders: 20% persist w same Sx, 40% develop other Sx, 40% get better. Large study from Olmstead county (n=1365)
  • -Gastroenterology 2007; 132: 1684.  Changes in cerebral blood flow during gastric balloon distention in dyspepsia.
  • -Gastroenterology 2006; 130: 1466-79. Functional gastroduodenal d/o. Acid suppression is 1st line Rx.
  • -Gastroenterology 2005; 129:1753-55, 1756-80, 1711. Mgt & guidelines for dyspepsia. In pts < 55 w/o alarm sx, test for H pylori and rx c PPI. In pts who don’t respond, consider EGD. Other Rx unclear: prokinetics, anticholinergics, antidepressants.
  • -Gastroenterology 2004; 127; 1239. Review of functional dyspepsia. Rx initial c acid-blocker/prokinetic reasonable, if not helpful, consider tricyclic, or clonidine. Eliminate H pylori. Sumatriptan may help
  • -J Pediatr 2005; 146: 448, 500.  Dyspepsia in children often associated with delayed GE and reduced gastric volumes
  • -Gastroenterology 2003; 125: 1219-26. Algorithm suggested:1. chech pylori 2. Rx c PPI/H2RA.  3. If persists, EGD.  If EGD neg, consider elavil
  • -Clinical Gastro & Hepatology 2003; 1: 356. Increased Mast cells noted.
  • -Gastroenterology 2002; 123: 1778, 2132. Use of hypnosis for NUD.
  • -Ann Intern Med 2001; 134: 361-369. Meta-analysis of H pylori & NUD. Non-significant/minor improvement c eradication.

2 thoughts on “HEROES trial

  1. Pingback: Does buspirone help functional dyspepsia? | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: NEJM: Functional Dyspepsia | gutsandgrowth

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