Can probiotics reduce the severity of C. difficile infections?

August 7, 2014
Can probiotics reduce the severity of C. difficile infections?
Clostridium difficile spores Credit: Copyright : Cjc2nd/Wikimedia

Probiotics have shown promise for treating patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infections. However, their safety and quality control requires further study – especially in immunocompromised patients, concludes a review paper published in the Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology.

The paper, by Y. Y. Loong and colleagues at the Universiti Putra Malysia, examines the epidemiology, immune responses, symptoms and diagnosis of C. difficile infections (CDI). It also discusses antibiotic susceptibility, CDI recurrences, and other .

C. difficile is an opportunistic pathogen found in the intestines of approximately 3% of healthy adults and 40% of infants. The bacterium causes a spectrum of diseases in humans, ranging from mild to severe. Infection rates are particularly high in North America and European countries. Studies have shown that this bacterium is responsible for 10-25% of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea cases, 50-75% of antibiotic-associated colitis cases, and 90-100% of antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis, respectively.

The antibiotics metronidazole and vancomycin have been recommended as the treatments of choice for C. difficile infections since the 1990s. However, there is a high risk that CDI will recur after several days of antibiotic administration. Metronidazole-resistant C. difficile also needs to be considered during treatment. Thus, a re-evaluation of the use of metronidazole as the first-line treatment is needed in areas with high resistant rates, comment Y. Y. Loong and colleagues.

Probiotics – beneficial microorganisms deliberately introduced into the body – have been used in some patients as an adjunct treatment with some success. However, a detailed investigation on the use of probiotics for infected patients is still needed to determine their real efficacy, recommend the authors. In addition, scientists need to explore new types of probiotics. "This will enable physicians to choose from a wider range of probiotics and develop a better combination to be used as adjunct treatments."

Explore further: Probiotics prevent diarrhoea related to antibiotic use

More information: Download the paper from Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology: www.pertanika.upm.edu.my/Pertanika%20PAPERS/JST%20Vol.%2021%20(2)%20Jul.%202013/02%20Page%20293-302.pdf

Related Stories

Probiotics prevent diarrhoea related to antibiotic use

May 30, 2013

Probiotic supplements have the potential to prevent diarrhoea caused by antibiotics, according to a new Cochrane systematic review. The authors studied Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections in patients taking antibiotics ...

Can probiotics keep gastrointestinal system healthy?

September 17, 2013

There's convincing evidence that probiotics can be helpful in maintaining gastrointestinal health in certain situations. But like many natural approaches to maintaining health, there's been a tendency toward generalizing ...

Probiotics show potential to minimize C. difficile

November 13, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—New cases of C. difficile-associated diarrhea among hospitalized patients taking antibiotics can be reduced by two-thirds with the use of probiotics, according to new research published Monday in the Annals ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover rare flu-thwarting mutation

September 29, 2016

A rare and improbable mutation in a protein encoded by an influenza virus renders the virus defenseless against the body's immune system. This University of Rochester Medical Center discovery could provide a new strategy ...

Utah man may have contracted Zika from dying father's tears

September 29, 2016

A Utah man who mysteriously contracted Zika from his infected father may have got it by touching his dad's tears or sweat with his bare hands, according to new research unveiled Wednesday that found the unusual transmission ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.