The gut infection Clostridia difficile (C. diff) is typically triggered by taking antibiotics — creating a diarrhea-causing toxin so insidious it kills some of its victims! Fortunately, the therapy is simple: taking either oral vancomycin (a C. diff-killing antibiotic) or Flagyl (an antiparasitic).
A study presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology has revealed an unexpected risk factor for C. diff — a risk factor that's part of the lives of tens of millions of Americans: taking a popular acid-blocking "proton pump inhibitor" (PPI) like Nexium ("The Purple Pill"), Prevacid, or Prilosec.
The researchers analyzed data from 21 studies, involving more than 133,000 people — and found that those who took PPIs had an 80% higher risk of diarrhea from C. diff, compared to people who never took the medications.
It's important to know that we now stool test for C. diff. in our patients, because colitis caused by the bacteria is becoming increasingly common in CFS/FMS. That test is particularly important if you've been taking an acid-blocking PPI or have persistent diarrhea or bowel cramps. It is a simple stool test that can be done at any lab.
To learn more, see ACG: PPI Use Linked to C. difficile Risk.
"A meta-analysis of 16 observational studies on proton pump inhibitor use and risk of Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea," Janarthanan S, et al, ACG 2010; Abstract 378.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.