Tampa General Medical Group, Tampa, FL Tri-State Gastroenterology Associates Digestive Specialists Inc., Dayton Greater Cincinnati Gastroenterology Associates, Cincinnati, OH.
The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence of Clostridium difficile infection in patients who received rifaximin for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
Medical charts of patients who received rifaximin for the treatment of HE were reviewed. The number of patients who developed diarrhea during treatment with rifaximin and results of latex agglutination assays to detect C. difficile in stool samples were analyzed.
A total of 211 patients received rifaximin for HE. Of these, 152 were treated in a university practice and 59 were treated in community practices. The mean dose of rifaximin was 1055 mg/d (range, 600 to 1600 mg/d) for a mean duration of 250 days (range, 180 to 385 d). Eighteen patients developed diarrhea during rifaximin treatment. None of these patients tested positive for C. difficile.
This study demonstrates that treatment of HE with the safe, nonsystemic, gut-selective antibiotic rifaximin was not associated with the development of C. difficile infection.