Did antibiotics cause your C. difficile colitis? Which one(s) did you take?
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Which antibiotics cause C. difficile colitis?
Although the antibiotic clindamycin (Cleocin) has been widely recognized as
causing C. difficile colitis, many commonly prescribed antibiotics also cause
colitis. Examples of antibiotics that frequently cause C. difficile colitis
cephalosporins [such as
Antibiotics that occasionally cause C. difficile colitis include:
quinolones such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro).
Antibiotics that rarely if ever cause C. difficile colitis include:
vancomycin (Vancocin), and
aminoglycosides [such as
In fact, metronidazole and vancomycin are two antibiotics that are
used for treating C. difficile colitis; however, there are rare reports of
difficile colitis occurring several days after stopping metronidazole.
While most C. difficile colitis in the US is caused by antibiotics, C. difficile
colitis also can occur in patients without exposure to antibiotics. For example,
patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have been known to develop
C. difficile colitis without exposure to antibiotics.
Since many antibiotics can cause C. difficile infection, all antibiotics should
be used prudently. Self-administration or using antibiotics without an accurate
diagnosis or a proper reason should be discouraged. On the other hand, benefits
of properly prescribed antibiotics for the right reasons usually far outweigh
the risk of developing C. difficile colitis.
Antibiotics can sometimes cause diarrhea that is not due to C. difficile
infection. The reason for the diarrhea is not clear. The practical implication
is that not all diarrhea associated with antibiotics should be considered to be
due to C. difficile and treated as such.