Epidemiology, risk factors and treatments for antibiotic-associated diarrhea

Dig Dis. 1998 Sep-Oct;16(5):292-307. doi: 10.1159/000016879.


Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is a common complication of antibiotics and recent findings on the epidemiology, etiologies and treatment strategies are reviewed. Rates of AAD vary from 5 to 39% depending upon the specific type of antibiotic. The severity of AAD may include uncomplicated diarrhea, colitis or pseudomembranous colitis. The pathogenesis of AAD may be mediated through the disruption of the normal flora and overgrowth of pathogens or through metabolic imbalances. The impact of AAD is reflected by increased hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased rates of comorbidity. The key to decreasing these consequences is prompt diagnosis followed by effective treatment and institution of control measures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cross Infection / chemically induced
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / therapy
  • Diarrhea* / chemically induced
  • Diarrhea* / epidemiology
  • Diarrhea* / microbiology
  • Diarrhea* / therapy
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents