Response of Clostridium Difficile Infection to Metronidazole Therapy

2014-08-27 03:45:37 | BioPortfolio


In this record review study, our objective is to determine the rates of cure, failure and relapse following treatment of C. difficile colitis with metronidazole.


Clostridium difficile is a major cause of nosocomial infection. When this organism proliferates in the colon, usually as a result of prior antibiotic therapy in a hospitalized or otherwise debilitated person, a variety of potentially serious consequences follow, such as fever, leukocytosis, abdominal pain, diarrhea and ileus. Some patients require surgical exploration and colectomy, and our hospital has had several deaths attributable to C. difficile colitis in the past year.

C. difficile colitis is treated with metronidazole, and earlier literature on this subject, written in the 1980's and early 1990s, suggests that the response rate is excellent, exceeding 90-95%. Our clinical observation has suggested that treatment with metronidazole is followed by a surprisingly high rate of failure, perhaps 25-30%. The clinical problem is that there are, at present, no desirable alternatives. Vancomycin, given orally, is said to be highly effective in treating this infection, but this may not be true, and the administration of this drug is associated with emergence of vancomycin-resistant bacteria, a major problem in modern hospitals. No other drug is approved for treatment of C. difficile infection.

We believe it is important to determine the actual rate of failure of treatment with metronidazole. This will provide an impetus for developing new therapeutic approaches.

We will review the records of patients who have been treated for confirmed C. difficile infection with metronidazole at the VAMC for the past 12 months in order to determine the rates of cure, failure, and relapse following therapy. This is a simple record review study to determine if our clinical suspicion is correct, namely, if the rate of failure of metronidazole therapy is much higher than that reported in the medical literature of 10-15 years ago.

Study Design



Clostridium Enterocolitis




Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center
United States




VA Medical Center, Houston

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:45:37-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A common inhabitant of the colon flora in human infants and sometimes in adults. It produces a toxin that causes pseudomembranous enterocolitis (ENTEROCOLITIS, PSEUDOMEMBRANOUS) in patients receiving antibiotic therapy.

A species of Saccharomyces that is used as a PROBIOTIC, such as in the treatment of DIARRHEA and PSEUDOMEMBRANOUS ENTEROCOLITIS associated with CLOSTRIDIUM INFECTIONS.

An acute form of MEGACOLON, severe pathological dilatation of the COLON. It is associated with clinical conditions such as ULCERATIVE COLITIS; CROHN DISEASE; AMEBIC DYSENTERY; or CLOSTRIDIUM ENTEROCOLITIS.

ENTEROCOLITIS with extensive ulceration (ULCER) and NECROSIS. It is observed primarily in LOW BIRTH WEIGHT INFANT.

An acute inflammation of the INTESTINAL MUCOSA that is characterized by the presence of pseudomembranes or plaques in the SMALL INTESTINE (pseudomembranous enteritis) and the LARGE INTESTINE (pseudomembranous colitis). It is commonly associated with antibiotic therapy and CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE colonization.

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