Melatonin as an Antimicrobial Adjuvant and Anti-Inflammatory for the Management of Recurrent Clostridioides difficile Infection

Antibiotics (Basel). 2022 Oct 25;11(11):1472. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics11111472.


Background:Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infection (CDI) is strongly associated with inflammation and has the potential to cause recurrent infections. Pre-clinical data suggest that melatonin has beneficial effects in the gastrointestinal tract due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This analysis examines the association between melatonin and the risk of recurrent CDI. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted among patients with an inpatient diagnosis of CDI along with a positive C. difficile polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test result. Patients were followed until the first study end point (death) or the first instance of recurrent infection. Propensity-score weighting was utilized accounting for confounding factors and weighted Cox models were estimated. Results: A total of 24,782 patients met the inclusion criteria, consisting of 3457 patients exposed to melatonin and 21,325 patients with no melatonin exposure. The results demonstrate that those exposed to melatonin were associated with a 21.6% lower risk of recurrent CDI compared to patients without melatonin exposure (HR = 0.784; 95% CI = 0.674-0.912). Conclusion: Our results demonstrate a decreased rate of recurrent CDI in patients exposed to melatonin. Further research on melatonin as an antimicrobial adjuvant and anti-inflammatory is warranted for the management of recurrent CDI.

Keywords: Clostridioides difficile; enzyme immunoassay; melatonin; polymerase chain reaction.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.