There has been minimal investigation of medications that affect gastrointestinal function as potential risk factors for the acquisition of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). We performed a retrospective case-control study, with control subjects matched to case patients by time and location of hospitalization. Strict exclusion criteria were applied to ensure that only case patients with a known time of acquisition of VRE were included. Control patients were patients with ≥1 culture negative for VRE. The risk factors identified were use of vancomycin (odds ratio [OR], 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-6.0; P = .0003), presence of central venous lines (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.04-4.6; P = .04), and use of antacids (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.5-5.6; P = .002). Two protective factors included gastrointestinal bleeding (OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08-0.79; P = .02) and use of Vicodin (Knoll Labs; hydrocodone and acetaminophen; OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.90-0.97; P = .0003). Changes in gastrointestinal function, whether due to bleeding or to the effects of oral medications, may affect whether patients become colonized with VRE.
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