Clostridium difficile infection: a review of current and emerging therapies
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection (CDI) is the most common cause of healthcareâ€‘associated infections in US hospitals. The epidemic strain NAP1/BI /ribotype 027 accounts for outbreaks worldwide, with increasing mortality and severity. CDI is acquired from an endogenous source or from spores in the environment, most easily acquired during the hospital stay. The use of antimicrobials disrupts the intestinal microflora enabling C. difficile to proliferate in the colon and produce toxins. Clinical diagnosis in symptomatic patients requires toxin detection from stool specimens and rarely in combination with stool culture to increase sensitivity. However, stool culture is essential for epidemiological studies. Oral metronidazole is the recommended therapy for milder cases of CDI and oral vancomycin or fidaxomicin for more severe cases. Treatment of first recurrence involves the use of the same therapy used in the initial CDI. In the event of a second recurrence oral vancomycin often given in a tapered dose or intermittently, or fidaxomicin may be used. Fecal transplantation is playing an immense role in therapy of recurrent CDI with remarkable results. Fulminant colitis and toxic megacolon warrant surgical intervention. Novel approaches including new antibiotics and immunotherapy against CDI or its toxins appear to be of potential value.
Keywords Clostridium difficile infection, fecal microbial transplantation, fidaxomicin, humanized monoclonal antitoxin antibodies, toxic megacolon
Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29 (2): 147-154