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      New advances in the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI)

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          Abstract

          Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) have increased in frequency throughout the world. In addition to an increase in frequency, recent CDI epidemics have been linked to a hypervirulent C. difficile strain resulting in greater severity of disease. Although most mild to moderate cases of CDI continue to respond to metronidazole or vancomycin, refractory and recurrent cases of CDI may require alternative therapies. This review provides a brief overview of CDI and summarizes studies involving alternative antibiotics, toxin binders, probiotics, and immunological therapies that can be considered for treatment of acute and recurrent CDI in severe and refractory situations.

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          Most cited references 135

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          Toxin production by an emerging strain of Clostridium difficile associated with outbreaks of severe disease in North America and Europe.

          Toxins A and B are the primary virulence factors of Clostridium difficile. Since 2002, an epidemic of C difficile-associated disease with increased morbidity and mortality has been present in Quebec province, Canada. We characterised the dominant strain of this epidemic to determine whether it produces higher amounts of toxins A and B than those produced by non-epidemic strains. We obtained isolates from 124 patients from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke in Quebec. Additional isolates from the USA, Canada, and the UK were included to increase the genetic diversity of the toxinotypes tested. Isolate characterisation included toxinotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), PCR ribotyping, detection of a binary toxin gene, and detection of deletions in a putative negative regulator for toxins A and B (tcdC). By use of an enzyme-linked immunoassay, we measured the in-vitro production of toxins A and B by epidemic strain and non-dominant strain isolates. The epidemic strain was characterised as toxinotype III, North American PFGE type 1, and PCR-ribotype 027 (NAP1/027). This strain carried the binary toxin gene cdtB and an 18-bp deletion in tcdC. We isolated this strain from 72 patients with C difficile-associated disease (58 [67%] of 86 with health-care-associated disease; 14 [37%] of 38 with community-acquired disease). Peak median (IQR) toxin A and toxin B concentrations produced in vitro by NAP1/027 were 16 and 23 times higher, respectively, than those measured in isolates representing 12 different PFGE types, known as toxinotype 0 (toxin A, median 848 microg/L [IQR 504-1022] vs 54 microg/L [23-203]; toxin B, 180 microg/L [137-210] vs 8 microg/L [5-25]; p<0.0001 for both toxins). The severity of C difficile-associated disease caused by NAP1/027 could result from hyperproduction of toxins A and B. Dissemination of this strain in North America and Europe could lead to important changes in the epidemiology of C difficile-associated disease.
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            Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in a region of Quebec from 1991 to 2003: a changing pattern of disease severity.

            Recent reports suggest that Clostridium difficile colitis may be evolving into a more severe disease. During the second half of 2002 we noted an increase in the number of patients with severe C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) in our institution. We describe cases of CDAD at our institution over a 13-year period and investigate changes in illness severity. We undertook a retrospective chart review of all cases of CDAD diagnosed at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke from Jan. 1, 1991, to Dec. 31, 2003. Because the hospital serves a well-defined population of Quebec, we were also able to calculate population-based incidence during this period. We abstracted data on individual patients from patient charts and from hospital and pharmacy computer databases. We defined cases of CDAD as having a positive C. difficile cytotoxicity assay result, or endoscopic or histopathological evidence of pseudomembranous colitis. A case was considered complicated if one or more of the following was observed: megacolon, perforation, colectomy, shock requiring vasopressor therapy, or death within 30 days after diagnosis. A total of 1721 cases of CDAD were diagnosed during the study period. The incidence increased from 35.6 per 100,000 population in 1991 to 156.3 per 100,000 in 2003; among patients aged 65 years or more, it increased from 102.0 to 866.5 per 100,000. The proportion of cases that were complicated increased from 7.1% (12/169) in 1991-1992 to 18.2% (71/390) in 2003 (p < 0.001), and the proportion of patients who died within 30 days after diagnosis increased from 4.7% (8/169) in 1991-1992 to 13.8% (54/390) in 2003 (p < 0.001). A high leukocyte count (20.0 small ha, Cyrillic 10(9)/L or greater) and an elevated creatinine level (200 micromol/L or greater) were strongly associated with adverse outcomes: in 2003, 45 (40.9%) of 110 patients with a high leukocyte count or creatinine level, or both, had complicated CDAD and 28 (25.5%) died within 30 days after diagnosis. After adjustment for age and other confounding factors, patients initially given oral vancomycin therapy had a risk of progression to complicated CDAD that was 79% lower than the risk among patients initially treated with metronidazole (adjusted odds ratio 0.2, 95% confidence interval 0.06-0.8, p = 0.02). An epidemic of CDAD with an increased case-fatality rate has had important consequences on the elderly population of our region. Our observational data suggest that the equivalence of vancomycin and metronidazole in the treatment of CDAD needs to be questioned.
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              Clinical recognition and diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection.

              Prompt and precise diagnosis is an important aspect of effective management of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). CDI causes 15%-25% of all cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, the severity of which ranges from mild diarrhea to fulminant pseudomembranous colitis. Several factors, especially advanced age and hospitalization, should be considered in the diagnosis of CDI. In particular, nosocomial diarrhea arising >72 hours after admission among patients receiving antibiotics is highly likely to have resulted from CDI. Testing of stool for the presence of C. difficile toxin confirms the diagnosis of CDI. However, performance of an enzyme immunoassay is the usual method by which CDI is confirmed, but this test appears to be relatively insensitive, compared with the cell cytotoxicity assay and stool culture for toxigenic C. difficile on selective medium. Endoscopy and computed tomography are less sensitive than stool toxin assays but may be useful when immediate results are important or other confounding conditions rank high in the differential diagnosis. Often overlooked aspects of this diagnosis are high white blood cell counts (which are sometimes in the leukemoid range) and hypoalbuminemia.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                October 2008
                October 2008
                : 4
                : 5
                : 949-964
                Affiliations
                South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Dennis D Hedge, South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy, Box 2202C, Brookings, SD 57007, USA, Tel +1 605 688 4238, Fax +1 605 688 6232, Email dennis.hedge@ 123456sdstate.edu
                Article
                tcrm-4-949
                2621401
                19209277
                © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                probiotics, immunological therapy, antibiotics, clostridium difficile

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