Anti-depressant link to Clostridium difficile infection

May 6, 2013

Certain types of anti-depressants have been linked to an increase in the risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine. Awareness of this link should improve identification and early treatment of CDI.

CDI is one of the most common and is responsible for more than 7000 deaths annually in the USA alone. Several types of medications are thought to increase risk of CDI, including anti-depressants, and given that depression is the third most common medical condition worldwide a team from the University of Michigan investigated the exact nature of this risk.

Firstly the team studied Clostridium difficile infection in people with and without depression and found that people with had a much higher chance of CDI (a 36% increase) than people without depression. This association held for a variety of depressive disorders and nervous or . Age and family support also impacted risk of CDI. Older, widowed Americans were 54% more likely to catch C. difficile than their married peers. Just living alone increased risk by 25%.

Secondly they looked to see if there was an association between antidepressant medication and hospital acquired CDI. They found that use of most types of antidepressants did not affect CDI risk - out of the twelve drugs tested only mirtazapine and increased risk of CDI, in each case the risk was doubled.

People who have been prescribed these types of anti-depressants need to keep taking them unless otherwise advised by their physician. The researchers stress that it is not yet known whether the increase in CDI is due to microbial changes in the gut during depression or to the medications associated with depression.

Dr. Mary Rogers who led this study explained, "Depression is common worldwide. We have long known that depression is associated with changes in the . The interaction between the brain and the gut, called the "brain-gut axis" is fascinating and deserves more study. Our finding of a link between depression and Clostridium difficile should help us better identify those at risk of infection and perhaps, encourage exploration of the underlying brain-gut mechanisms involved."

Explore further: Community-onset Clostridium difficile linked to higher risk of surgery

More information: Depression, antidepressant medications, and risk of Clostridium difficile infection Mary A Rogers, M Todd Greene, Vincent B Young, Sanjay Saint, Kenneth M Langa, John Y Kao and David M Aronoff BMC Medicine (in press). doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-121

Related Stories

Community-onset Clostridium difficile linked to higher risk of surgery

April 4, 2012
Patients whose symptoms of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) start outside of the hospital setting have a higher risk of colectomy due to severe infection, according to a large multicenter study funded by the Centers ...

Fecal transplant feasible for recurrent C. difficile infection

March 3, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection (CDI) can successfully be treated in the vast majority of patients through a fecal transplantation procedure via colonoscopy, according to research published ...

Study reports increasing incidence of Clostridium difficile infection

May 21, 2012
A study presented by Mayo Clinic researchers during Digestive Disease Week 2012 provides clear evidence that the number of people contracting the hard-to-control and treat bacterial infection Clostridium difficile (C. difficile ...

A new treatment option for Clostridium difficile: Fecal transplantation

March 14, 2012
Fecal transplantation through colonoscopy is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological ...

Antibiotics may not be only cause of community-acquired clostridium difficile infection

October 31, 2011
Antibiotics may not be the only risk factor associated with community-acquired Clostridium difficile infection, indicating that other undefined causes of the potentially life-threatening infection may exist and could also ...

Research identifies new way to treat common hospital-acquired infection

August 21, 2011
Researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a molecular process by which the body can defend against the effects of Clostridium difficile ...

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 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.