Patients receiving laxatives should also be tested for C. diff, despite guidelines, study finds

Clinical guidelines that suggest excluding patients from stool testing for Clostridioides difficile infection if they have recently received laxatives may cause "potential harm," according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The 2017 Infectious Diseases Society of America-Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America clinical practice guidelines recommend not testing patients for C. diff if they have received laxatives within the preceding 48 hours. However, this guideline may cause harm resulting from delayed diagnosis and treatment, researchers found.

Researchers studied 209 patients with C. diff, 65 of whom had received laxatives in the prior 48 hours.

The study shows there were no significant differences in the proportion of patients with severe C. diff between patients receiving (66.2 percent) versus not receiving laxatives (56.3 percent). Both groups also had similar rates of serious outcomes attributable to C. diff, including death, intensive care unit admission and colectomy.

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