Updates in the Management of Clostridium Difficile for Adults

Kimberly E. Ng, PharmD, BCPS


US Pharmacist. 2019;44(4):HS9-HS12. 

In This Article

Role of the Pharmacist

One of the primary risk factors for developing CDI is antibiotic use, so pharmacists can play a vital role in minimizing patient risk through antimicrobial stewardship. Prompt initiation and administration of antibiotics have proven to reduce morbidity. However, it is estimated that 20% to 50% of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. hospitals are unnecessary or inappropriate. Not only does inappropriate antibiotic use contribute to antibiotic resistance but it also increases potential for patient adverse events like CDI. Pharmacist involvement in antibiotic stewardship programs optimizes treatment of infections through the selection of appropriate antibiotics and de-escalation of therapy when applicable, and it has been shown to significantly reduce hospital rates of CDI.[15]

Pharmacists are also able to provide patient education to prevent the spread of CDI. Patients should be educated to wash their hands with soap and water every time they use the bathroom and always before eating. Anyone who cares for a patient infected with CDI should take precautions such as using gowns and gloves to prevent spread. At home, CDI patients with diarrhea should use a separate bathroom if possible. Surfaces can be cleaned with a mixture of bleach and water.[16]

By remaining aware of treatment updates such as those in the SHEA/IDSA 2018 guidelines, pharmacists can also assist other healthcare providers in implementing appropriate therapy for this potentially life-threatening pathogen.