New Medication for Travelers’ Diarrhea Approved

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a new extended-release formulation of rifamycin (Aemcolo, Cosmo Technologies) to treat adults with travelers’ diarrhea caused by noninvasive strains of Escherichia coli not complicated by fever or blood in the stool.  Travelers' diarrhea is defined by having three or more unformed stools in 24 hours in a person who is traveling. The highest-risk destinations are most of Asia as well as the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and Central and South America.  Rifamycin was not shown to be effective in patients with diarrhea complicated by fever and/or bloody stool or diarrhea due to pathogens other than noninvasive strains of E. coli and is not recommended for use in such patients.  Rifamycin is dosed at 388 mg (2 tablets) po twice daily for 3 days.  Rifaximin (Xifaxan, Salix Pharmaceuticals) is another similar agent in the rifamycin class of antimicrobial agents.

For more information, click here to see the FDA press release.

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Jill Kolesar & Lee Vermeulen

Professors, University of Kentucky