Document Type


Date of Original Version



Pharmacy Practice


Purpose: The greatest challenge in treating Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is disease recurrence, which occurs in about 20% of patients, usually within 30 days of treatment cessation. We sought to identify independent predictors of first recurrence among a national cohort of veterans with CDI.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study among acute and long-term care Veterans Affairs (VA) inpatients and outpatients with a first CDI episode (positive stool sample for C. difficile toxin[s] and receipt of at least 2 days of CDI treatment) between 2010 and 2014. Cases experienced first recurrence within 30 days from the end of treatment. Controls were those without first recurrence matched 4:1 to cases on year, facility, and severity. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was used to identify predictors of first recurrence.

Results: We identified 32 predictors of first recurrence among 974 cases and 3,896 matched controls. Significant predictors included medication use prior to (probiotics, fluoroquinolones, laxatives, third- or fourth-generation cephalosporins), during (first- or second-generation cephalosporins, penicillin/amoxicillin/ampicillin, third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins), and after CDI treatment (probiotics, any antibiotic, proton pump inhibitors [PPIs], and immunosuppressants). Other predictors included current biliary tract disease, malaise/fatigue, cellulitis/abscess, solid organ cancer, medical history of HIV, multiple myeloma, abdominal pain, and ulcerative colitis.

Conclusion: In a large national cohort of outpatient and acute and long-term care inpatients, treatment with certain antibiotics, PPIs, immunosuppressants, and underlying disease were among the most important risk factors for first CDI recurrence.