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Cost-Effectiveness of Competing Treatment Strategies for Clostridium difficile Infection: A Systematic Review

  • Phuc Le (a1), Van T. Nghiem (a2), Patricia Dolan Mullen (a3) and Abhishek Deshpande (a1) (a4)



Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) presents a substantial economic burden and is associated with significant morbidity. While multiple treatment strategies have been evaluated, a cost-effective management strategy remains unclear.


We conducted a systematic review to assess cost-effectiveness analyses of CDI treatment and to summarize key issues for clinicians and policy makers to consider.


We searched PubMed and 5 other databases from inception to August 2016. These searches were not limited by study design or language of publication. Two reviewers independently screened the literature, abstracted data, and assessed methodological quality using the Drummond and Jefferson checklist. We extracted data on study characteristics, type of CDI, treatment characteristics, and model structure and inputs.


We included 14 studies, and 13 of these were from high-income countries. More than 90% of these studies were deemed moderate-to-high or high quality. Overall, 6 studies used a decision-tree model and 7 studies used a Markov model. Cost of therapy, time horizon, treatment cure rates, and recurrence rates were common influential factors in the study results. For initial CDI, fidaxomicin was a more cost-effective therapy than metronidazole or vancomycin in 2 of 3 studies. For severe initial CDI, 2 of 3 studies found fidaxomicin to be the most cost-effective therapy. For recurrent CDI, fidaxomicin was cost-effective in 3 of 5 studies, while fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) by colonoscopy was consistently cost-effective in 4 of 4 studies.


The cost-effectiveness of fidaxomicin compared with other pharmacologic therapies was not definitive for either initial or recurrent CDI. Despite its high cost, FMT by colonoscopy may be a cost-effective therapy for recurrent CDI. A consensus on model design and assumptions are necessary for future comparison of CDI treatment.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:412–424


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Abhishek Deshpande MD, PhD, Center for Value-based Care Research, Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Ave, G10, Cleveland, OH 44195 (


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Cost-Effectiveness of Competing Treatment Strategies for Clostridium difficile Infection: A Systematic Review

  • Phuc Le (a1), Van T. Nghiem (a2), Patricia Dolan Mullen (a3) and Abhishek Deshpande (a1) (a4)


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