Background: There is a reported association between proton pump inhibitor (PPI) exposure and increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), but less is known about how this class of medications taken during treatment might influence mortality after CDI. Here we examine 180-day mortality rates in a cohort of CDI elders and its association with exposure to PPIs. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of elderly patients (> 65 years of age) diagnosed and treated for CDI in the years 2014-2016 (n = 874) in the Umass Memorial Health Care system, which represents both academic and community healthcare. Patient characteristics and medication use was extracted from the electronic medical record (EMR) and 6 month mortality data was obtained via the Center for Disease Control National Death Index. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate hazard ratios associated with medication exposures and other relevant variables.
Results: Of the 874 elderly adults treated for CDI, 180-day all-cause mortality was 12.4%. Exposure to a PPI was associated with a 55% reduced risk of mortality (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28-0.72). In our Cox model, increasing age (aHR 1.45; 95% CI 1.14-1.84), those with severe CDI infections (aHR 1.87; 95% CI 1.22-2.88), and those with hospital acquired CDI (aHR 3.01; 95% CI 1.81-4.99) also had increased 180 day mortality risk. There were similar associations noted with both 90 day and 1-year mortality.
Conclusion: Use of PPIs during CDI treatment in elderly patients is associated with decreased 180-day mortality. Although use of PPIs has been associated with an increased risk of CDI, it appears to be protective against mortality when used during the treatment phase.
Keywords: Clostridium difficile; Enteric pathogens; Infectious disease; Medication safety; Proton pump inhibitors.