SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association
Non-Aggressive Strain of Bacteria Helps Reduce Recurrent C. difficile Infection
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a common and sometimes deadly health care-associated infection characterized by severe diarrhea. Almost 500,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., usually affecting hospitalized patients and others taking antibiotics. Even after successful treatment, C. difficile recurs in 25 to 30 percent of patients. A new study examined a potential way to prevent repeated C. difficile infection by using a non-aggressive version of the same bacteria, known as "non-toxigenic" C. difficile.
Researchers enrolled 168 patients who had been successfully treated for C. difficile infection and randomly assigned them to four groups. Three of the groups received varying doses of the non-toxigenic C. difficile strain, and the fourth received a placebo.
Results found 70 percent of patients who received the non-toxigenic strain, had evidence of the bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract ("colonization") after treatment. In the group that received any dose of the nontoxigenic strain, recurrence of C. difficile infection was reduced to 11 percent (compared to 30% in placebo). Among the three different doses, the best dose reduced recurrence to 5 percent.