Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are increasingly important in patients with antibiotic treatments, ranging from mild, self-limiting to severe, life-threatening disease. Currently, diagnostic algorithms and treatment guidelines are being adapted to novel tests and therapeutic options for recurrent CDI.
A systematic literature search using the terms ‘Clostridium difficile’ and ‘treatment’ was carried out. Current guidelines are being discussed from a clinical point of view.
State-of-the-art diagnostics for C. difficile diagnosis rely on the patient's history, clinical symptoms, and laboratory examination of stool. Recommendations are in favour of glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) screening tests and confirmatory detection of C. difficile toxin genes (polymerase chain reaction (PCR)). Therapeutic strategies depend on disease severity (mild vs. severe) and endorse metronidazole and vancomycin as well as fidaxomycin for recurrent disease. In very severe cases, surgical therapy is recommended. For relapsing diseases, faecal transfer is considered as a therapeutic option if available.
Current guidelines have been adapted to new pathways in diagnosing CDI and have included statements on novel therapeutic options such as fidaxomycin and faecal transplant for recurrent disease. Depending on the severity of the disease, standard therapy with either metronidazole or vancomycin is recommended.