Updated on 20 June 2012
DIFICID is the first in a new class of macrolide antibiotics, which are minimally absorbed by the bloodstream and have been shown to fight the CDI infection while leaving healthy gut flora untouched.4 DIFICID works by inhibiting the bacterial enzyme RNA polymerase, resulting in the death of C. difficile bacteria.4 Patients typically develop CDI when using broad spectrum antibiotics, which disrupt normal gut flora and enable the infection to take hold.
Hypervirulent strains of CDI, including PCR ribotype 027 strains recently identified in Australia, have been associated with epidemic spread and high rates of severe disease and death.5
Risk factors for CDI include exposure to antimicrobial drugs, gastric acid-suppressive therapy, advanced age, prolonged hospitalisation, cancer chemotherapy, co-morbidity and immuno- suppression. Although most cases have been in hospital inpatients, increasing numbers of community-associated cases are now being reported.
A leading Australian authority on C. difficile, Professor Thomas Riley from the University of Western Australia, said data showed patients treated with DIFICID were "significantly less likely" to develop recurrent infections.6,7
He said new treatment options like DIFICID were highly desirable, with infection rates rising "two to three fold" in public hospitals around the country.