C. diff infection risk rises with antihistamine use to treat stomach acid, study finds

Patients receiving antihistamines to suppress stomach acid are at greater risk of infection from Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a common cause of diarrhea, particularly in health care settings, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. The study focused on histamine 2 receptor antagonists. The researchers found no significant risk for people taking over-the-counter antihistamine drugs, however. The findings appear in the online journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers reviewed 35 observations based on 33 separate studies involving C. diff and antihistamines used for suppressive therapy. The researchers found a clear association between histamine 2 use and C. diff infection. They say it was especially pronounced and caused the greatest risk for hospitalized patients receiving antibiotics. "It's not clear why these antihistamines increase the risk of C. diff infection, because gastric acid does not affect C. diff spores," says senior author Larry Baddour, M.D., a Mayo infectious diseases expert. "However, it may be that vegetative forms of C.diff, which are normally killed by stomach acid, survive due to use of stomach acid suppressors and cause infection."

Researchers say the study highlights the need for judicious use of histamine 2 receptor antagonists in hospitalized patients, and that reducing the use of these drugs could significantly reduce the risk of C. diff infections.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Home walking program improves erectile function after MI

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For men with recent acute myocardial infarction, a home-based walking program is associated with a reduction in reported erectile dysfunction (ED), according to a study published in the March ...

Trapping the Ebola virus in transit

14 hours ago

The deadly Ebola virus makes use of host mechanisms – including a specific type of membrane-bound calcium channel – to gain entry into the cell cytoplasm. LMU researchers now show that blocking this channel ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.