Montezuma's Curse Gets Reversed

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A new medication, just put on the market, is great news for travelers

Dr. Bradley Connor is President of the International Society of Travel Medicine

Changing the approach to treating the common ailment is an antibiotic that's newly approved in the U.S., but one that's been prescribed in Europe for years. Rifaximin was given the official OK by the FDA this past spring, and as of August it'll be sold under the name Xifaxan (the first x is pronounced like a z).

What's notable about it is that, unlike bacteria-fighting drugs such as Cipro, which enters the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body, Rifaximin remains exclusively in the gut.

If you're going to a country that's known as a T.D. risk, your doctor might consider prescribing Xifaxan before you leave. Some studies show that the drug could be taken in small doses every day as a preventive measure, before you ever get sick (which is far less torturous than trying to treat T.D. after the fact).

Xifaxan is safer than Cipro and more effective than over-the-counter medications, but travelers should remain cautious and proactive to avoid getting sick. It's always best to drink bottled beverages, avoid foods that are washed in water, and eat only what's been freshly cooked and is served piping hot.

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