The part that candida plays in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea was investigated in 24 elderly inpatients (mean age 74 years) who tested negative for Clostridium difficile toxin and other intestinal pathogens. 7 had intestinal overgrowth of Candida species (≥105 cfu/ml). None of the 24 matched, antibiotic-treated controls without diarrhoea had candida overgrowth. All 5 patients with diarrhoea and candida overgrowth treated with oral nystatin responded with resolution of diarrhoea and lowering of faecal counts to < 104 cfu/ml within 7 days of start of antifungal therapy despite continuation of antibacterial therapy. In the other 2 patients with candida overgrowth, the diarrhoea subsided spontaneously and faecal candida counts returned to normal (<104 cfu/ml) after antibacterial agents were withdrawn. In patients without candida overgrowth, diarrhoea persisted until antibiotics were withdrawn, at a mean of 16 days after study entry.
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