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Am J Ther. 2014 Sep-Oct;21(5):385-94. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e318245992d.

Clostridium difficile colitis: review of the therapeutic approach.

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Department of Gastroenterology, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, Brooklyn, NY.


Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of antibiotic-associated and nosocomial infectious diarrhea. Presenting as clostridium difficile colitis, it is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Metronidazole is regarded as the agent of choice for CDl therapy and also for the first recurrence in most patients with mild to moderate CDI. Vancomycin is recommended as an initial therapy for patients with severe CDI. With recent Food and Drug Administration-approval fidaxomicin is available for clinical use and is as effective as vancomycin with lower relapse rates. Rifaximin and fecal bacteriotherapy are alternative approaches in patients with severe or refractory CDI, before surgical intervention. Antibiotic research is ongoing to add potential new drugs such as teicoplanin, ramoplanin, fusidic acid, nitazoxanide, rifampin, bacitracin to our armamentarium. Role of toxin-binding agents is still questionable. Monoclonal antibody and intravenous immunoglobulin are still investigational therapies that could be promising options. The ongoing challenges in the treatment of CDI include management of recurrence and presence of resistance strains such as NAP1/BI/027, but early recognition of surgical candidates can potentially decrease mortality in CDI.

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