H pylori Breath Testing-What to Expect and Preparation


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Judy J. Davis, M.D., F.A.A.P.

1095 E Warner Ave #102

Fresno, CA 93710

(559) 412-8184 Fax (559) 4381174



H pylori is the most common cause of ulcers. This test uses a stable isotope of carbon (in urea) to determine if an active infection with H pylori is present. You will be asked to drink a solution of urea and breathe into a bag 2 times in 15 min.

1.Antibiotics and Pepto-Bismol need to be discontinued within 2-weeks of performing the breath test.  If these are not discontinued within this time, it may give a false-negative result.

2.Proton pump inhibitors, i.e., Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), AcipHex (rabeprazole), Kapidex (dexlansoprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole) and H2 blockers such as Zantac (ranitidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), and Axid (nizatidine) should be discontinued within 5-days of the breath test.  If these are not discontinued, it may give a false-negative result. 

3.Do not eat, drink or smoke 1-hour prior to or during the test.  

4.Warning:  People with phenylketonuria should not take this test as it does contain phenylalanine (75 mg). 

5.The breath test takes approximately 15-minutes to complete. 

6.Wait 4-6 weeks after treating H. pylori to recheck H. pylori breath test.

Judy Davis, MD, FAAP

Fellow American Academy of Pediatrics

Fellow Sub-Board American Academy of Pediatric Gastroenterology

American Board of Nutrition

Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco

revised 10/16

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