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Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2011 Jul;4(4):227-35. doi: 10.1177/1756283X11398734.

Rifaximin for the treatment of acute infectious diarrhea.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Rifaximin is a nonabsorbable rifamycin derivative with an excellent safety profile and a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity against a variety of enteropathogens causing acute infectious diarrhea. After oral ingestion, its bioavailability is known to be less than 0.4%, and it has a low potential for significant drug interactions. In the treatment of travelers' diarrhea caused by noninvasive diarrheagenic Escherichia coli, it has been demonstrated that rifaximin significantly shortens the duration of diarrhea and has an efficacy similar to that of ciprofloxacin. Moreover, according to two randomized placebo-controlled trials, prophylactic treatment with rifaximin reduced the risk of developing travelers' diarrhea by more than 50% compared with the placebo group. For the treatment of acute diarrhea unrelated to travel, a short course of rifaximin significantly reduced the duration of diarrhea, and its overall efficacy was comparable to that of ciprofloxacin. The discrepancy between the in vitro and in vivoantimicrobial activities of rifaximin, however, and the clinical implication of the rapid appearance of bacterial resistance, must be further elucidated. In conclusion, this gut-selective antibiotic seems to be a promising option for the treatment of acute infectious diarrhea secondary to noninvasive E. coli and also appears to be effective in chemoprophylaxis for travelers' diarrhea.


acute infectious diarrhea; rifaximin; travelers’ diarrhea

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