Clostridium difficile Infection in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Expert Updates

A recent clinical practice update (S Khanna et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol; 2017; 15: 166-74) provides some succinct recommendations regarding Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Background: In 2011, the authors note that CDI was associated with 29,000 deaths and is now the most lethal enteric pathogen in the U.S.

Differences in pathogenesis of C diff in IBD compared to those without IBD:

  • Younger age
  • Less frequent antibiotic exposure
  • More often community onset (rather than hospital onset)
  • Higher recurrence (may be related to dysbiosis)

Key recommendations:

  • In patients with IBD flare, test for CDI
  • In patients with CDI and IBD, clinicians should consider “using vancomycin instead of metronidazole.”
  • In patients with recurrent CDI and IBD, consider fecal microbiota transplantation

Figure 4 proposes a management algorithm (for adults).  If uncomplicated CDI, recommended dose of vancomycin was 125 mg q6h. If no improvement in 3-4 days, then “consider escalation of immunosuppression.” For complicated CDI, consider oral vancomycin at 500 mg q6h and IV metronidazole 500 mg q8.  In addition, consider rectal vancomycin and surgery consult.

Complicated CDI includes ICU admission, hypotension, T >38.5, ileus/megacolon, mental status changes, leukocyte count >35,000  or < 2000, or lactate >2.2 mmol/L

Another review article (Y Chen et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2017; 23: 200-07) is a meta-analysis that identified six studies.  One of these studies was a case-control study with nearly 400,000 patients (and about 7000 cases of C diff). Key finding: CDI results in nearly a doubling of the risk of colectomy (OR 1.90), mainly in patients with ulcerative colitis.

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.


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