A real-world evaluation of oral vancomycin for severe Clostridium difficile infection: implications for antibiotic stewardship programs

Frank Le, Vaneet Arora, Dhara N Shah, Miguel Salazar, Hannah R Palmer, Kevin W Garey
Pharmacotherapy 2012, 32 (2): 129-34

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To assess antibiotic treatment patterns and clinical outcomes of patients with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) based on underlying severity of CDI disease.

DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of data from a prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Large tertiary care university hospital.

PATIENTS: One hundred forty-four patients (mean ± SD age 63 ± 17 yrs) with CDI who received metronidazole (intravenous or oral) or oral vancomycin as their initial therapy option between 2006 and 2008.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Patients were stratified by severity of illness and treatment, and outcomes assessed were clinical response, relapse of disease, all-cause inpatient mortality, and length of hospital stay. Mild-moderate CDI disease was present in 85 patients (59%) and severe disease in 59 patients (41%). Overall, oral vancomycin was given to 16 patients (11%); use of this drug did not differ according to severity of infection. Among patients with severe disease, clinical success occurred in 32 (63%) of 51 patients given metronidazole and in all 8 patients (100%) given vancomycin (p=0.04). Inpatient mortality and hospital length of stay were lower in patients with severe CDI who were given oral vancomycin, although these results were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Oral vancomycin was not commonly used for severe CDI. An improved clinical response rate was observed in patients with severe CDI given oral vancomycin; this outcome supported results from clinical trials. Antibiotic stewardship teams could play a major role in providing guidance on CDI treatment based on severity.

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