Skip to content

    Ulcerative Colitis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Study: Fecal Transplants May Help Colitis

    By Damian McNamara
    WebMD Health News

    March 22, 2016 -- After 8 weeks of fecal transplants, some people with tough-to-treat ulcerative colitis had no rectal bleeding or diarrhea, according to a new study.

    The study results were presented at the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization 2016 Congress.

    The research is important because it’s the largest and most intensive trial of fecal transplants to treat ulcerative colitis, says Sudarshan Paramsothy, MD, from the University of New South Wales in Kensington, Australia.

    In the study, 41 adults received a fecal transplant by colonoscopy, then followed up with five active fecal transplant enemas each week for 8 weeks, done at home. Another 40 received a placebo treatment. During a study extension, though, 37 people in the placebo group chose to switch and receive fecal transplants.

    Each 150 milliliters of fecal material contained previously frozen stool from three to seven unrelated donors.

    "We used this multi-donor concept for logistical reasons because of the number of infusions required for this trial," Paramsothy says. The research team also wanted to prevent patients from receiving an infusion transplant from a single bad donor. All patients in the study had active mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis and phased out the use of steroid treatment during the study period.

    Of the 41 patients receiving fecal transplants, 44% were considered to be in remission without steroids. That means they had no rectal bleeding or diarrhea. Only 20% of the placebo group achieved remission.

    Study participants told the researchers they had belly pain and flatulence, Paramsothy says. Three people had serious complications in the first 8 weeks -- colitis worsened in two people in the fecal transplant group (one needed surgery to remove the colon) and one in the placebo group.

    Key Questions Remain

    "We have considerable safety questions," said session moderator Philippe Seksik, MD, PhD, from Hôpital Saint-Antoine in Paris.

    With a single transplant donor, he says, there is a lower risk of spreading something unwanted. Ideally, he says, multi-donor samples would be frozen for months while donors are checked for any health issues.

    The FDA just announced it intends to increase the regulation of fecal transplants to promote greater safety and availability for patients. The procedure is cleared only for the treatment of Clostridium difficileinfection for now.

    Today on WebMD

    basket of vegetables
    Article
    IBD Overview Slideshow
    Slideshow
     
    Ulcerative Colitis Managing Flares
    Slideshow
    what is ibs
    Article
     

    Supplements UC
    Video
    Ulcerative Colitis Health Check
    Tool
     
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet
    Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet Yogurt
    Article
     

    Ulcerative Colitis Surgery
    Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Medications
    Article
     
    Exercising When You Have A GI Disorder
    Article
    Picture Of The Intestines
    Image Collection