N-acetylcysteine prevents the development of gastritis induced by Helicobacter pylori infection
BACKGROUND Use of mucolytic agents that result in reduced mucous viscosity of the gastric mucous has been suggested to have an additive effect in curing Helicobacter pylori infection. METHODS Seventy Hpylori-positive patients were given either eradication treatment consisting of 500 mg clarithromycin bid and 30 mg lansoprazole bid for 10 days plus 10 mL (400 mg) N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) liquid tid (AC group) or eradication treatment only (control group). The results were compared 1 month after the completion of the treatment. RESULTS Fifty-eight patients were available for statistical analysis. Of the 28 patients in the AC group, 14 (50.0%) eradicated the infection after treatment, whereas only 7 of 30 (23.3%) patients in the control group had negative results. The difference between the AC group and the control group was statistically significant (P = 0.034). In both groups, there was no difference in the number of smokers and in the eradication rates between smokers and nonsmokers. Eradication treatment with or without NAC caused no significant side effects in either group. CONCLUSIONS Our findings suggest that NAC has an additive effect on the eradication rates of H pylori obtained with dual therapy with lansoprazole and clarithromycin. NAC does not have any known activity against H pylori, but it may improve the delivery of antibiotics at the site of infection due to its ability to reduce the thickness of the mucus.