This prospective randomized study investigated the possibility that duodenal ulcer relapse associated with Helicobacter Pylori infection is mediated by oxygen-derived free radicals. To this end, the radical scavengers allopurinol (50 mg 4 times daily) and dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO, 500 mg 4 times daily) were administered orally. One hundred and forty-six consecutive patients with previous symptomatic endoscopy proven duodenal ulceration, which had been shown endoscopically to have healed in the presence of gastric mucosal infection with Helicobacter Pylori, were randomized to receive for the period of one year either placebo, or cimetidine 400 mg at bedtime, or allopurinol, or DMSO. In one hundred and twenty-six patients evaluable for efficacy, the cumulative relapse at one year was: placebo 47%, cimetidine 24%, allopurinol 6% and DMSO 6%. Cimetidine was significantly effective in preventing the relapse (p < 0.01), however allopurinol and DMSO were superior to cimetidine in this respect (p < 0.05). In the patients who relapsed, ulcer recurrence tended to occur early in those on placebo and cimetidine and to be evenly distributed over the year in those on free radical scavenging therapy. In all groups, ulcer recurrence throughout the maintenance year was more frequently symptomatic than silent. The incidence of infection with Helicobacter Pylori was not influenced by any of the regimens employed and the bacterium was detected with every relapse noted in this study and during the follow-up endoscopy which was carried out at 6 months and at 12 months during the maintenance year. The results suggest that oxygen-derived free radicals are involved in the relapse of duodenal ulceration in patients infected with Helicobacter Pylori.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.