Chronic Rifaximin Use in Cirrhotic Patients Is Associated with Decreased Rate of C. difficile Infection

Paul Feuerstadt, Simon J. Hong, Lawrence J. Brandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Aim: Rifaximin is an antimicrobial which is used for prophylaxis of hepatic encephalopathy in patients with cirrhosis and has known anti-Clostridioides difficile activity. The aim of this study is to assess whether the rate of C. difficile infection (CDI) is decreased in patients with cirrhosis on chronic rifaximin compared with those who are not. Methods: We retrospectively identified consecutive patients admitted to Montefiore Medical Center from 2010 to 2014 with cirrhosis and diarrhea who were tested for CDI. Demographics, comorbidities, medication exposure, baseline laboratory data, and outcomes were recorded. Patients with cirrhosis and diarrhea on chronic rifaximin were compared with those not on rifaximin. The chronic rifaximin group was then isolated, and those with and without CDI were compared. Results: Of 701 patients with cirrhosis and diarrhea, 149 were on chronic rifaximin and 552 were not. 12.8% of patients on chronic rifaximin had CDI compared with 29.7% of those not on rifaximin (P < 0.001). Patients on rifaximin had higher MELD (19.7 vs. 15.5, P < 0.001), 30-day mortality (26.2% vs. 16.1%, P < 0.01), and ICU requirement compared with those not on rifaximin. Conclusion: Patients with cirrhosis who are on chronic rifaximin have decreased rates of CDI compared with those not on this therapy. Despite its risk for promoting resistance, chronic rifaximin use may have a beneficial effect in preventing CDI in patients with cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-638
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • C. difficile
  • Cirrhosis
  • Infection
  • Rifaximin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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