A new antibiotic treatment for Clostridium difficile has been accepted for restricted use by the NHS in Wales.
The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group, which advises NHS Wales on prescribing new treatments, has approved fidaxomicin (Dificlir) for the treatment of C difficile in adults with severe or recurrent cases of the infection.
Fidaxomicin, which is a first-in-class antibiotic manufactured by Astellas Pharma, was shown in trials to be non-inferior to vancomycin.
It demonstrated a similar efficacy and tolerability, according to Astellas, but more than halved the rate of recurrence in patients with C difficile, compared to vancomycin (12.7% versus 26.9%).
The European Commission licensed fidaxomicin tablets for the treatment of adults with C difficile in December 2011 and the drug was launched in the UK in June.
Between April 2011 and March 2012 the healthcare associated infection affected over 2,100 people in Wales and was associated with 236 deaths during 2011.