Role of Doxycycline in Clostridium difficile Infection Acquisition

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Annals of Pharmacotherapy


Objective:To evaluate and review the literature surrounding the potential protective benefit of tetracyclines, particularly doxycycline, in reducing Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) acquisition. Data Sources: MEDLINE/PubMed, Google Scholar, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts were searched through January 2014 using the search terms doxycycline, tetracycline, and Clostridium difficile. Study Selection and Data Extraction: Relevant studies, case reports, and review articles were screened for inclusion. Bibliographies of articles were extensively reviewed for additional sources. Data Synthesis: Doxycycline is a second-generation tetracycline antibiotic indicated for use in a variety of clinical syndromes and has activity against aerobic Gram-positive and -negative, anaerobic, and atypical bacteria as well as protozoan parasites. Although not used therapeutically to treat CDI, doxycycline may prevent or attenuate the virulence factors of toxigenic C difficile. Current literature does not indicate an increased risk of development of CDI with doxycycline use. In 3 retrospective studies, the use of doxycycline was associated with a protective effect. Conclusions: Doxycycline has been shown to have potential protective effects against the development of CDI. Although further randomized placebo-controlled studies are needed, available data suggest that the use of doxycycline in place of alternative antimicrobials, when appropriate, may be a useful antimicrobial stewardship strategy aimed at reducing the incidence of CDI. © The Author(s) 2014.

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