Poo in a Pill to Treat Gut Infection?
Researchers create capsules containing fecal bacteria to flush away deadly germs
WebMD News Archive
The researchers provided the pills to 27 patients with C. difficile and reported a 100 percent success rate. None of the patients had a recurrence of the infection, even though all of them previously had had repeat bouts with the germ. Patients ingested between 24 and 34 capsules containing fecal bacteria, often donated by family members.
Moore compared fighting C. difficile with fecal bacteria to restoring a lawn that has become infested with weeds.
C. difficile can be destroyed using antibiotics, much like using herbicides to get rid of the weeds, but that does nothing to restore the "lawn" within the gut to proper balance.
Alternatively, one can choose to reseed the lawn with fresh grass seed and hope the new grass crowds out the weeds. In the case of C. difficile, probiotics can sometimes boost healthy intestinal flora that crowd out the bad bug, Moore explained.
Fecal transplantation is more akin to planting fresh sod across the entire lawn, he suggested.
"This study confirms what has been suspected for quite some time, that fecal transplants are the most effective and most efficient way to restore gut health in patients with recurrent C. diff," Moore said.
Further, he believes using capsules will make the process much easier for people.
Moore said he sees no reason why doctors can't begin using handmade fecal bacteria capsules to treat C. difficile, particularly since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has lifted a moratorium it had placed on the practice.
"I think the gelatin capsule idea could be enacted without regulatory difficulty," Moore said. "The trick is to get the gelatin capsules and actually stuff them with the stool. Certainly, there's no glamor in it."
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.