Fidaxomicin is an antibiotic prescribed for the treatment of diarrhoea caused by Clostridium difficile.
The dose is one tablet every 12 hours for 10 days.
Keep taking the tablets until the course is finished, otherwise your infection may come back.
|Type of medicine||A macrocyclic antibiotic|
|Used for||The treatment of Clostridium difficile infections in adults|
An infection with Clostridium difficile germs (bacteria) - often called 'C. diff' - most commonly occurs in people who have recently had a course of antibiotics and are in hospital. The symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to a life-threatening inflammation of the colon (large intestine). No treatment may be needed in mild cases apart from drinking plenty of fluids but treatment with antibiotics is needed when the symptoms are more severe. Even after treatment, some people can have spores from the bacteria still living in their colon and this means that re-infection can sometimes occur.
Fidaxomicin is an antibiotic specifically used for the treatment of Clostridium difficile. It kills the bacteria causing the infection and this helps to reduce the diarrhoea associated with the infection. When you take fidaxomicin, the medicine is not absorbed into your body but instead it stays in your colon to target the bacteria and spores causing the infection.
Before taking fidaxomicin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking fidaxomicin it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have an inflammatory bowel disorder.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take fidaxomicin
- Before you start taking the antibiotic, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about fidaxomicin and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take fidaxomicin exactly as your doctor tells you to. You will be prescribed one tablet twice a day for 10 days. Try to space out your doses evenly throughout the day - so ideally, take a dose every 12 hours. You can take the tablets either before or after meals.
- If you forget to take a dose at the correct time, take it as soon as you remember. Try to take two doses every day but do not take the two doses together to make up for missing a dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Your doctor will arrange to see you regularly so that your progress can be monitored.
- It is important that you keep taking the tablets until the course is finished (unless you are told otherwise by your doctor). This is because your infection may come back if you stop taking the tablets before the 10-day course is finished.
- As with any bout of diarrhoea, it is important that the fluid which has been lost from your body is replaced. This will mean that you will be asked to drink extra fluids for a while.
- You, those caring for you, and your visitors, will all be asked to follow strict hygiene measures. These will help to prevent the spread of infection to other people. Please be careful to follow any instructions you are given.
- If you are due to have any vaccinations in the near future, please make sure that the person treating you knows that you have recently taken this medicine. Antibiotics like fidaxomicin can stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working properly.
Can fidaxomicin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the common ones associated with fidaxomicin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common fidaxomicin side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink several glasses of water each day|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store fidaxomicin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Dificlir® 200 mg film-coated tablets; Astellas Pharma Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2014.
- British National Formulary; 69th Edition (Mar 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson