European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases: update of the treatment guidance document for Clostridium difficile infection

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Mar;20 Suppl 2:1-26. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12418.


In 2009 the first European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection (ESCMID) treatment guidance document for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) was published. The guideline has been applied widely in clinical practice. In this document an update and review on the comparative effectiveness of the currently available treatment modalities of CDI is given, thereby providing evidence-based recommendations on this issue. A computerized literature search was carried out to investigate randomized and non-randomized trials investigating the effect of an intervention on the clinical outcome of CDI. The Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to grade the strength of our recommendations and the quality of the evidence. The ESCMID and an international team of experts from 11 European countries supported the process. To improve clinical guidance in the treatment of CDI, recommendations are specified for various patient groups, e.g. initial non-severe disease, severe CDI, first recurrence or risk for recurrent disease, multiple recurrences and treatment of CDI when oral administration is not possible. Treatment options that are reviewed include: antibiotics, toxin-binding resins and polymers, immunotherapy, probiotics, and faecal or bacterial intestinal transplantation. Except for very mild CDI that is clearly induced by antibiotic usage antibiotic treatment is advised. The main antibiotics that are recommended are metronidazole, vancomycin and fidaxomicin. Faecal transplantation is strongly recommended for multiple recurrent CDI. In case of perforation of the colon and/or systemic inflammation and deteriorating clinical condition despite antibiotic therapy, total abdominal colectomy or diverting loop ileostomy combined with colonic lavage is recommended.

Keywords: Clostridium difficile infection; guideline; recommendations; review; treatment.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides difficile / isolation & purification*
  • Clostridium Infections / drug therapy*
  • Clostridium Infections / microbiology*
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy*
  • Diarrhea / microbiology*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / drug therapy*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / microbiology*
  • Humans