Treatments Linked to Lower Risk of C. difficile Recurrence

Patients treated with two monoclonal antibodies targeting bacteria's toxins, along with antibiotics
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The use of two monoclonal antibodies targeting Clostridium difficile toxins was associated with fewer recurrences of infections, according to research published in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Israel Lowy, M.D., of Medarex in Princeton, N.J., and colleagues analyzed data from 200 patients with symptomatic C. difficile infection. All were taking either metronidazole or vancomycin. Patients were randomized to receive placebo or an infusion of two fully human monoclonal antibodies aimed at C. difficile toxins A and B. The primary end point was infection recurrence in the following 84 days.

The treatment group had a lower rate of C. difficile infection recurrence than the placebo group (7 versus 25 percent). Those with the hypervirulent BI/NAP1/027 strain who received the antibody treatment also had a lower recurrence rate (8 versus 32 percent).

"It is unlikely that monoclonal antibodies will be used for primary treatment, but they may allow a reduction in the number of days of standard antibiotic therapy for C. difficile infection. These novel approaches to breaking the cycle of C. difficile infection, along with continued attention to appropriate antibiotic use and infection prevention and control, offer hope in the battle against this increasingly prevalent and difficult-to-manage disease," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

The study was supported by MassBiologics and Medarex, which employs several of the co-authors. A number of co-authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies or relevant patents.

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