BACKGROUND: Due to the limitations of existing treatment options for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), new therapies are needed.OBJECTIVE: To review the available data on fidaxomicin regarding chemistry, mechanisms of action and resistance, in vitro activity, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, efficacy and safety in clinical trials, and place in therapy.METHODS: A search of PubMed using the terms “fidaxomicin”, “OPT-80”, “PAR-101”, “OP-1118”, “difimicin”, “tiacumicin” and “lipiarmycin” was performed. All English-language articles from January 1983 to November 2014 were reviewed, as well as bibliographies of all articles.RESULTS: Fidaxomicin is the first macrocyclic lactone antibiotic with activity versus C difficile. It inhibits RNA polymerase, therefore, preventing transcription. Fidaxomicin (and its active metabolite OP-1118) is bactericidal against C difficile and exhibits a prolonged postantibiotic effect (approximately 10 h). Other than for C difficile, fidaxomicin demonstrated only moderate inhibitory activity against Gram-positive bacteria and was a poor inhibitor of normal colonic flora, including anaerobes and enteric Gram-negative bacilli. After oral administration (200 mg two times per day for 10 days), fidaxomicin achieved low serum concentration levels but high fecal concentration levels (mean approximately 1400 μg/g stool). Phase 3 clinical trials involving adults with CDI demonstrated that 200 mg fidaxomicin twice daily for 10 days was noninferior to 125 mg oral vancomycin four times daily for 10 days in regard to clinical response at the end of therapy. Fidaxomicin was, however, reported to be superior to oral vancomycin in reducing recurrent CDI and achieving a sustained clinical response (assessed at day 28) for patients infected with non-BI/NAP1/027 strains.CONCLUSION: Fidaxomicin was noninferior to oral vancomycin with regard to clinical response at the end of CDI therapy. Fidaxomicin has been demonstated to be as safe as oral vancomycin, but superior to vancomycin in achieving a sustained clinical response for CDI in patients infected with non-BI/NAP1/027 strains. Caution should be exercised in using fidaxomicin monotherapy for treatment of severe complicated CDI because limited data are available. Whether fidaxomicin is cost effective (due to its significantly higher acquisition cost versus oral vancomycin) depends on the acceptable willingness to pay threshold per quality-adjusted life year as a measure of assessing cost effectiveness.