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Clostridium difficile: managing infections

By Mark Gilchrist, MSc, MRPharmS, Nick Cooley, DipClinPharm, and Luke S P Moore, MSc, FRCPath

gastrointestinal image

Patients with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) are best managed by a multidisciplinary team;1 evidence suggests that this should include doctors, nurses and pharmacists, all specialising in the management of infections. The team should also be able to draw on the resources of dietitians, gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal surgeons.2


Management of a patient with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) will depend on the severity of the infection. However, most patients will require antibiotic treatment — usually with oral metronidazole or oral vancomycin — and fluid replacement. If possible, any causative antibiotics should be stopped. 

Healthcare organisations should have strategies in place to manage patients with CDI. Organisations should ensure that infected patients are isolated promptly, strict policies around hand hygiene and personal protection are set out and affected areas are cleaned appropriately.


Mark Gilchrist is consultant pharmacist in infection and Luke S P Moore is specialist registrar in microbiology and infectious diseases, both at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Nick Cooley is lead clinical pharmacist for anti-infectives at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11108015

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