What new therapies exist for reducing recurrence?
Bezlotoxumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against C. difficile toxin B that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2016 for prevention of recurrent CDI. Randomized placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that a single infusion of bezlotoxumab, given in combination with usual antibiotics for CDI in adults, was effective in reducing CDI recurrence within 12 weeks (rate of recurrent infection in both trials was 16.5% in the bezlotoxumab groups and 26.6% in the placebo groups).
In a post hoc analysis, the highest benefit was in patients with three or more risk factors: older than 65 years, history of CDI, immunocompromised status, or severe CDI. Although the best strategy for prevention of CDI recurrence remains to be determined, bezlotoxumab remains an option.7,8
Back to the case
The patient had a C. difficile polymerase chain reaction test sent that came back positive for C. difficile. Because she had previously been treated with a 10-day course of oral vancomycin, she was started on a tapered and pulsed-dose regimen of oral vancomycin. Five days later her diarrhea resolved, and her leukocyte count returned to normal.
Dr. Bell is associate clinical professor in the division of hospital medicine at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center. Dr. Farkhondehpour is a hospitalist and assistant clinical professor at UC San Diego Health.
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