New AHRQ Research Review Updates Findings on Treatment of Clostridium difficile Infections
A new AHRQ research review updates findings on the treatment ofClostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections, a serious health care-associated infection that can be difficult to treat. Researchers reviewed 93 studies and concluded that the antibiotic vancomycin is more effective than metronidazole for initial treatment of C. difficile. But for prevention of recurrent C. difficile, fidaxomicin is more effective than vancomycin, the review found. C. difficile is becoming more common in the United States and globally, and extremely infectious strains have emerged since 2000. There were an estimated 293,000 cases of C. difficile in the United States in 2011. About 55 of every 100,000 infected people 65 and older will die, making C. difficile the 17th leading cause of death in this age group. Early diagnosis and effective treatment, including appropriate use of antibiotics, are essential. The review also concluded that nucleic acid amplification tests are effective for diagnosing C. difficile, and that, while research is limited, fecal transplantation and probiotics may be effective treatments. Access the report.