Be Careful What You Eat And Drink On Vacation

Montezuma’s revenge. Tourista. Tut’s tummy. They’re all euphemisms for a common ailment that travelers may face.

Each year, between 20 and 50 percent of international travelers-an estimated 10 million Americans-develop travelers’ diarrhea (TD). Onset usually occurs during the first week of travel, but can occur at any time during the trip-even after returning home. High-risk destinations are the developing countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. People at particularly high risk for developing complications associated with TD include young adults, immunosuppressed people, people with inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes, and people taking H-2 blockers or antacids.

TD is most commonly caused by E coli and other bacteria. Most diarrhea-causing bacteria are spread through the water and food supply. Fortunately, being careful about what you eat and drink can help reduce your risk of developing TD, the most common reason that travelers cut their vacations short.

For travelers in high-risk areas, one treatment option is a nonsystemic, gastrointestinal (GI) selective antibiotic called Xifaxan® (rifaximin) tablets 200 mg. These tablets have been approved by the FDA for treatment of patients >12 years old with TD caused by noninvasive strains of E coli. Xifaxan has been used for over 19 years in other countries with over 500 million tablets prescribed worldwide.

“Treating travelers’ diarrhea can make the difference of feeling better in a day, versus missing out on a few days of your trip,” said Bradley Connor, M.D., immediate past president, International Society for Travel Medicine.

Before traveling, contact your physician or visit a travel clinic. In addition to taking a prescription for Xifaxan with you while traveling, travelers can minimize their risk for TD by practicing a few preventative measures.

“While TD is usually only disruptive to a vacation, there is evidence to suggest that some afflicted with TD may develop a more serious condition known as post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome,” added Connor. “It’s best to plan ahead, take a few precautions and think about health issues before you travel.”

If you find yourself stricken with diarrhea, drink plenty of clear liquids to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.

Note to Editors: Important Safety Information-XIFAXAN (rifaximin) tablets are indicated for the treatment of patients (>12 years of age) with travelers’ diarrhea caused by noninvasive strains of Escherichia coli. XIFAXAN should not be used in patients with diarrhea complicated by fever or blood in the stool or diarrhea due to pathogens other than Escherichia coli. XIFAXAN should be discontinued if diarrhea symptoms get worse or persist more than 24-48 hours and alternative antibiotic therapy should be considered.

In clinical trials, XIFAXAN was generally well tolerated. The most common side effects (vs. placebo) were flatulence: 11.3% (vs. 19.7%), headache: 9.7% (vs. 9.2%), abdominal pain: 7.2% (vs. 10.1%) and rectal tenesmus: 7.2% (vs. 8.8%).

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