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Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Aug 15;43(4):411-20. Epub 2006 Jul 11.

Tolevamer, a novel nonantibiotic polymer, compared with vancomycin in the treatment of mild to moderately severe Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.

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University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



Current antibiotic therapies for Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea have limitations, including progression to severe disease, recurrent C. difficile-associated diarrhea, and selection for nosocomial pathogens. Tolevamer, a soluble, high-molecular weight, anionic polymer that binds C. difficile toxins A and B is a unique nonantibiotic treatment option.


In this 3-arm, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, parallel-design phase II study, patients with mild to moderately severe C. difficile-associated diarrhea were randomized to receive 3 g of tolevamer per day (n = 97), 6 g of tolevamer per day (n = 95), or 500 mg of vancomycin per day (n = 97). The primary efficacy parameter was time to resolution of diarrhea, defined as the first day of 2 consecutive days when the patient had hard or formed stools (any number) or < or = 2 stools of loose or watery consistency.


In the per-protocol study population, resolution of diarrhea was achieved in 48 (67%) of 72 patients receiving 3 g of tolevamer per day (median time to resolution of diarrhea, 4.0 days; 95% confidence interval, 2.0-6.0 days), in 58 (83%) of 70 patients receiving 6 g of tolevamer per day (median time to resolution of diarrhea, 2.5 days; 95% confidence interval, 2.0-3.0 days), and in 73 (91%) of 80 patients receiving vancomycin (median time to resolution of diarrhea, 2.0 days; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.0 days). Tolevamer administered at a dosage of 6 g per day was found to be noninferior to vancomycin administered at a dosage of 500 mg per day with regard to time to resolution of diarrhea (P = .02) and was associated with a trend toward a lower recurrence rate. Tolevamer was well tolerated but was associated with an increased risk of hypokalemia.


Tolevamer, a novel polystyrene binder of C. difficile toxins A and B, effectively treats mild to moderate C. difficile diarrhea and merits further clinical development.

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