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Recurrent C. difficile Incidence is Rapidly Increasing, Underscoring Need For New Therapies

JUL 10, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
“The increasing incidence of C. difficile being treated with multiple courses of antibiotics signals rising demand for fecal microbiota transplantation in the United States,” Dr. Lewis said in the press release. “While we know that fecal microbiota transplantation is generally safe and effective in the short term, we need to establish the long-term safety of this procedure.”

Due to the fact that C. difficile “appears to thrive in people whose normal, healthy gut bacteria have been killed off or diminished,” gastroenterologists have started using FMT as an alternative to antibiotics for treating mrCDI patients. FMT involves extracting healthy bacteria from another individual’s fecal matter, and then processing and directly transferring that bacteria to the infected patient. According to the press release, “the aim is to help restore a normal gut bacteria population in the patient and thereby discourage C. difficile growth.”

The treatment has produced positive results in some patients and indeed, a smaller study conducted in 2013 highlighted that FMT may be a strong treatment option for those with mrCDI. The researchers in that study found that 1 FMT infusion “cleared up C. difficile diarrhea” in 81% of mrCDI; vancomycin, the standard treatment, cleared up the infection in only 31% of patients. Although the results of the 2013 study seem promising, Dr. Lewis stresses that researchers still need more information pertaining to long-term safety of this treatment option.

One initiative that may help in this regard is a formal registry that has recently been created by The American Gastroenterological Association. Through this registry, doctors can report the results of FMT procedures. “It’s a way in which practitioners who are performing fecal microbiota transplantation can contribute data to help answer these critical questions,” Dr. Lewis concluded in the press release.

As C. difficile rates continue to rise, researchers are looking for better ways to treat those who are infected. With the help of this registry, researchers hope to yield more information on FMT procedures in hopes that they could be used more as a means to cut down on incidence.
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