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Updates on Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile Infection With Emphasis on Long-Term Care

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OBJECTIVE: To provide a review of the classification, epidemiology, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile (C. difficile) infection (CDI) with an emphasis on longterm care.

DATA SOURCES: PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for relevant literature using a combination of the following terms: C. difficile, classification, epidemilogy, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and long-term care. Sources were limited to human data.

STUDY SELECTION/DATA EXTRACTION: The main article reviewed was the 2017 CDI guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of American and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Other articles were reviewed for relevance to CDI in long-term care settings.

DATA SYNTHESIS: CDI is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in older adults. The primary risk factors are advanced age and receipt of antibiotics. Diagnosis is suspected based on signs and symptoms and confirmed by laboratory tests. Vancomycin and fidaxomicin have replaced metronidazole as the drugs of choice for CDI. Fidaxomicin is associated with a lower risk of recurrence than vancomycin. Fecal microbiota transplantation is reserved for patients with multiple recurrences. Bezlotoxumab can be used in addition to standard therapy to prevent CDIs in patients at high risk for recurrence. Infection control strategies and antibiotic stewardship programs are known to reduce the rates of CDIs in institutional settings.

CONCLUSION: CDI is largely iatrogenic, and diagnosis is based on clinical presentation and laboratory tests. Treatment options include vancomycin, fidaxomicin, and fecal microbiota transplantation. Prevention centers around infection control and antibiotic stewardship. More research is needed in long-term care settings.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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  • The Senior Care Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Senior Care Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.

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