Can probiotics reduce the severity of C. difficile infections?

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."

More information: Download the paper from Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology: www.pertanika.upm.edu.my/Perta… 20Page%20293-302.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as 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 antibi ...

Can probiotics keep gastrointestinal system healthy?

Sep 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 ...

Recommended for you

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

10 hours ago

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

User 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.