The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Aemcolo (rifamycin), an antibacterial drug indicated for the treatment of adult patients with travelers’ diarrhea caused by noninvasive strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli), not complicated by fever or blood in the stool.
“Travelers’ diarrhea affects millions of people each year and having treatment options for this condition can help reduce symptoms of the condition,” said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Travelers’ diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness, affecting an estimated 10 to 40 percent of travelers worldwide each year. Travelers’ diarrhea is defined by having three or more unformed stools in 24 hours, in a person who is traveling. It is caused by a variety of pathogens, but most commonly bacteria found in food and water. The highest-risk destinations are in most of Asia as well as the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and Central and South America.
The efficacy of Aemcolo was demonstrated in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 264 adults with travelers’ diarrhea in Guatemala and Mexico. It showed that Aemcolo significantly reduced symptoms of travelers’ diarrhea compared to the placebo.
The safety of Aemcolo, taken orally over three or four days, was evaluated in 619 adults with travelers’ diarrhea in two controlled clinical trials. The most common adverse reactions with Aemcolo were headache and constipation.
Aemcolo 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. Aemcolo should not be used in patients with a known hypersensitivity to rifamycin, any of the other rifamycin class antimicrobial agents (e.g. rifaximin), or any of the components in Aemcolo.