The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) recommends the Astellas drug as first-line therapy in CDI patients with recurrent, severe and non-severe CDI.
It also recommends Dificlir for use in vulnerable patients such as elderly people and people with cancer or kidney disease, for whom CDI carries a much higher risk of mortality.
The new ESCMID guidelines coincide with a European Parliament resolution stating that prevention and control of healthcare associated infections should be “near the top of the political agenda in the EU”.
CDI has overtaken MRSA as the leading cause of infections acquired in hospitals. It is resistant to standard antibiotics, significantly extends hospital stays, and makes patients up to three times more likely to die in hospital.
Patients typically develop CDI following treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Recurrence is a major risk, with 25% of patients suffering recurrence within a month.
Two major phase III clinical studies have shown that fidaxomicin significantly reduces the rate of CDI recurrence, and improves the likelihood of diarrhoea resolution within 30 days, relative to vancomycin (the standard of care).
The clinical trials included patients in vulnerable groups, for whom CDI is particularly dangerous. CDI is associated with a mortality rate of 14% in elderly patients, and CDI recurrence rates in care homes are as high as 50%.
Professor Oliver Cornely, University Hospital Cologne, Germany, said: “One of the biggest challenges to optimal CDI management is recurrence, therefore the significant reduction in disease recurrence by Dificlir compared with vancomycin is an important step in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with CDI.
“I welcome these guidelines and believe implementation of the recommendations will help to improve CDI care and reduce the burden on both patients and healthcare systems”.