Clostridium difficile infection and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea

Clin Med (Lond). 2018 Jun;18(3):237-241. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.18-3-237.


Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea is among the most common adverse events related to antibiotic use. Most cases are mild, but Clostridium difficile infection causes a spectrum of disease, ranging from occasional diarrhoea to colitis, toxic megacolon, and potentially death. Recent developments in our understanding of the biology of the gut microbiota have provided new insights into the pathogenesis of these conditions, and have revealed a role for manipulation of the gut microbiota as a novel therapeutic approach. This review will give an overview of the assessment of these conditions, before focusing on the rapidly developing area of their treatment.

Keywords: Clostridium difficile; antibiotics; diarrhoea; faecal microbiota transplant; microbiota.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clostridioides difficile
  • Clostridium Infections / chemically induced
  • Clostridium Infections / diagnosis
  • Clostridium Infections / therapy
  • Diarrhea / chemically induced
  • Diarrhea / diagnosis
  • Diarrhea / therapy*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / chemically induced
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / diagnosis
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / therapy*
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation*
  • Fidaxomicin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Vancomycin
  • Fidaxomicin