The addictive nature of opioids and the increasing number of overdoses and fatalities in America has been intensively researched and publicized, but there has been limited study of the potentially dangerous impact of opioids on hospitalized patients, particularly those with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), the most common hospital-acquired infection in the U.S. Many of these patients are prescribed opioids during their hospital stay, either as a continuation of opioids they received as outpatients or newly prescribed for pain.

In an effort to improve care for patients with C. diff to assure better outcomes, Dr. Chowdhry and her colleagues at West Virginia University Health Sciences Center at Charleston, compared the outcomes of patients with C. diff who were taking opioids to those who were not. In a blog post on The Doctor Weighs In, Dr. Chowdhry shares key insights from her research, including that opioid use is associated with an increased risk of severe C. diff and extended length of hospitalization.

Dr. Chowdhry presented data from the study “Opioid use in Clostridium difficile infection is associated with severe disease and prolonged hospitalization” at Digestive Disease Week® on Saturday, June 2 at 9:30 a.m. EDT, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.