Frozen Fecal Capsules for C. difficile: An Alternative to Stool Transplants?

This article originally appeared here.
Photo credit: Hohmann Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital
Photo credit: Hohmann Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital

(HealthDay News) -- For patients with relapsing Clostridium difficile infection, administration of frozen fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) capsules from prescreened unrelated donors is feasible, according to a study published online October 11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDWeek), held from October 8–12 in Philadelphia.

Ilan Youngster, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the safety and rate of resolution of diarrhea following administration of frozen FMT capsules in an open-label feasibility study. Participants included 20 patients (aged 11–89 years) with at least three episodes of mild to moderate C. difficile infection or at least two episodes of severe infection. Participants were treated with 15 capsules on two consecutive days.

The researchers observed no adverse events related to FMT. Fourteen patients experienced diarrhea resolution after a single capsule-based FMT. Following re-treatment among all six nonresponders, four had resolution of diarrhea, for an overall 90% rate of clinical resolution of diarrhea. There was a decrease in the daily number of bowel movements from a median of five on the day prior to administration to two and one at day three and eight weeks, respectively (P=0.001 and P<0.001, respectively).

"Larger studies are needed to confirm these results and to evaluate long-term safety and effectiveness," the authors write.

One author is the recipient of a sponsored research award from Seres Health for a clinical trial related to C. difficile colitis treatment.

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