Proton-pump inhibitors increase risk of nosocomial C. diff infection: study

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People who take proton-pump inhibitor medications are at increased risk for developing a Clostridium difficile infection, according to a recently published study that supports findings from previous research.

PPIs are used to control the production of gastric acid, and include omeprazole (Prilosec) and pantoprazole (Protonix). Previous studies have found a link between PPI use and C. diff infection, and this was backed up by the recent findings from an Arizona-based research team. Out of 201 hospital inpatients analyzed, 76% of those who developed C. diff were on a PPI, the team found.

After controlling for variables such as immunosuppression and prior hospital admission, the researchers determined PPIs may “contribute considerably” to the presence of nosocomial C. diff  in hospitals. Admission to a hospital from a skilled nursing facility also elevates risk.

PPIs should be used more sparingly and only for “appropriate indications,” the researchers concluded.

The study appears in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently named C. diff one of the most urgent public health threats related to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. The infection kills 14,000 annually, according to the CDC.