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What Are The Drawbacks Of Current Front-Line Drugs to Treat C. difficile Infection?


Kirk Hevener, PharmD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, explains the drawbacks of first-line drugs that are currently used to treat C. difficile infections.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“The first-line agents that are currently used to treat [Clostridium] C. difficile infection, are metronidazole and another agent called vancomycin. We have been using these agents for several decades now to treat this particular infection, and they do have some drawbacks that are actually very important to know.

The first is that they’re relatively broad-spectrum antibacterials, and that’s important with C. difficile infection because, C. difficile infection is actually associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibacterials. So, essentially what we’re doing, is we’re treating an infection that was brought about by the use of broad-spectrum antibacterials, with broad-spectrum antibacterials, which can cause what we call ‘recurrence’ of CDI infection.

The reason this is important is because when we use these broad-spectrum antibacterials, metronidazole and vancomycin, patients can have what we call a recurrence: the infection can come back. Even though it looks cured, they can recur with the infection. What that means is they have a higher incidence of mortality and morbidity with recurrence—second, third, or even fourth recurrences have significantly increased rates of mortality.”
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