Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Review
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Clostridium difficile in inflammatory bowel disease.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, are associated with an increased risk of symptomatic Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). CDI may also masquerade as an IBD flare and complicate IBD management. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of CDI in IBD patients.

RECENT FINDINGS: CDI remains common in IBD with complications including flares in disease activity, recurrent CDI episodes, and prolonged hospital stays. Newer IBD therapeutics including vedolizumab, ustekinumab, and tofacitinib are less likely to cause severe CDI. A high index of suspicion, rapid testing via a two-step method, and prompt treatment with vancomycin or fidaxomicin are paramount to managing CDI in IBD patients. Strategies to prevent recurrent CDI (rCDI) include the monoclonal antibody bezlotoxumab as well as fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). FMT has a robust profile of safety and effectiveness in preventing rCDI in adults and children.

SUMMARY: Clinicians must remain vigilant in the prompt diagnosis and treatment of CDI in IBD patients. Corticosteroids, unnecessary antibiotics, and ongoing colonic inflammatory disease are modifiable risk factors. Improved infection control measures, newer IBD medications, and using effective CDI treatments will facilitate a reduced burden of severe CDI and complications for IBD patients.

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