In a randomized, controlled, open label phase 3b/4 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02254967), hospitalized patients age 60 years and older with confirmed C difficile infection were recruited from 86 European hospitals. Patients were randomly assigned to receive extended-pulsed fidaxomicin (200-mg oral tablets, twice daily on days 1–5, then once daily on alternate days on days 7-25) or vancomycin (125-mg oral capsules, 4 times daily on days 1-10).
Of the 177 patients receiving fidaxomicin, 124 (70%) achieved the primary end point of sustained clinical cure 30 days posttreatment, compared with 106 (59%) of 179 who received vancomycin (odds ratio 1.62; 95% CI 1.04-2.54, P =.03).
Multivariate analysis, which included treatment arm and baseline stratification factors (infection severity, cancer presence, age, and number of previous C difficile infection occurrences) as covariates, also indicated fidaxomicin to be superior (P =.035). A subanalysis of microbiota diversity concluded that microbiota recovery was greater in the fidaxomicin group, and a Cox proportional hazards model suggested that the hazard of infection recurrence in the vancomycin group was 3.8 times greater.
This study demonstrates the superiority of extended-pulsed fidaxomicin treatment over standard treatment with vancomycin. The researchers note the absence of blinding and racial diversity in the study group as limitations and recommend that future investigations should study this treatment course in patients age 60 years and younger and should compare this treatment course with standard fidaxomicin treatment protocols.
The study was funded by Astellas Pharma Inc, who were involved in all stages of the study, including manuscript preparation.
Guery B, Menichetti F, Anttila V-J, et al.; for the EXTEND Clinical Study Group. Extended-pulsed fidaxomicin versus vancomycin for Clostridium difficile infection in patients 60 years and older (EXTEND): a randomised, controlled, open-label, phase 3b/4 trial. [published online December 19, 2017]. Lancet Infect Dis. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30751-X
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