Previous research studies have demonstrated an association between the use of gastric acid-suppressing medications (such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid) and an increased risk of developing C. difficile (C. diff) infection. Until recently, however, the risk of C. diff recurrence in patients taking these medicines was not well understood. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of multiple studies conducted over a 10-year period offers new insight into the potential effects of acid suppression on rates of C. diff recurrence in people with a known history of the infection.
By combining data from sixteen observational studies, this review revealed evidence of a significant association between the use of gastric acid-suppressing medicines and C. diff recurrence. The review included case-control studies, cohort studies, and clinical trials which followed patients with a history of C. diff infection who either received or did not receive gastric acid-suppressing medicines. The findings showed a 22.1% rate of recurrent C. diff infection in patients on gastric acid-suppressing therapy, compared with a 17.3% rate in patients without gastric acid suppression. This finding suggests that patients who take gastric acid-suppressing medicines may be at an increased risk for recurrence of C. diff infection. This information may prove relevant for clinicians in reevaluating the risk/benefit profile for these medications in patients with a known history of C. diff infection.
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