Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size
A
A
A

Relapses in C. diff Infections Reduced

Antibody Treatment Cuts Relapses That Plague C. diff Patients
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 20, 2010 -- New monoclonal antibodies can break the cycle of recurrent infections in patients plagued by C. diff, a clinical trial suggests.

C. diff -- Clostridium difficile -- is the most common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and colitis. A particularly nasty strain of the bug, dubbed toxinotype III BI/NAP1/027, is linked to several large outbreaks.

It's a nasty bug, but what makes it worse is that about 25% of patients suffer recurrent bouts of infection. Some of these patients get into a spiral of multiple relapses despite treatment with powerful antibiotics.

Animal studies suggest that C. diff is vulnerable to lab-grown antibodies that attack the bacterium's A and B toxins. Now researchers at the University of Massachusetts MassBiologics research facility report that it greatly lowered C. diff recurrence in a medium-size clinical trial.

"The combined administration of [the] human monoclonal antibodies significantly reduced the recurrence of C. difficile infection," report Israel Lowy, MD, PhD, of Medarex Inc., and colleagues. Medarex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Merdarex and MassBiologics have licensed the antibodies to Merck.

The antibodies are given in a single, two-hour infusion. The study, conducted at 30 sites in the U.S. and Canada, enrolled 200 patients receiving antibiotic treatment for lab-confirmed C. diffdiarrhea. Half the patients received the monoclonal antibodies, and half got an inactive placebo.

C. diff recurred in 25% of patients receiving placebo, but in only 7% of those receiving the antibodies: a 72% reduction in C. diff recurrence.

The treatment worked even better -- reducing C. diff recurrence by 82% -- in patients who already had suffered multiple relapses.

The treatment did not make the patients' initial C. diff disease any better or worse and did not shorten their hospitalization.

"The trial results are impressive," Lorraine Kyne, MD, MPH, of University College, Dublin, writes in an editorial accompanying the Lowy report. "This novel non-antibiotic approach is likely to offer hope to physicians and patients battling C. difficile infection."

The Kyne editorial, and the Lowy report, appear in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
 
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
 
diverticuliltis illustration
Slideshow
couple eating at cafe
Article
 
sick child
Slideshow
Woman blowing bubble gum
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Slideshow
Woman with stomach pain
Slideshow
 
diet for diverticulitis
Video
what causes diarrhea
Video