The Cambridge Clostridium difficile Study

Clostridium difficile pilot study: effects of probiotic supplementation on the incidence of C. difficile diarrhoea

Aim

This randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study was designed to provide evidence that supplementing with Lab4 probiotics while taking antibiotics can prevent the incidence of antibiotic associated C. difficile diarrhoea (CDAD).

Method

  • The study was carried out at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
  • 138 elderly patients requiring antibiotic therapy were divided into two equal groups.
  • The first group received 25 billion Lab4 probiotics daily in conjunction with their prescribed antibiotics, for 20 days.
  • The second group took a placebo with their prescribed antibiotics.
  • The efficacy of Lab4 probiotics in the prevention of CDAD was assessed by recording bowel habit and analysing faecal samples.

The results

  • The patient group given Lab4 probiotics experienced a lower incidence of Clostridium difficile diarrhoea compared to the placebo group.
  • This effect was due to a reduction in the presence of the Clostridium difficile toxin in the Lab4 probiotic group.
% of patients positive for Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea
% of patients positive for Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea
% of patients positive for Clostridium difficile toxin
% of patients positive for Clostridium difficile toxin

Conclusion

Supplementation with Lab4 probiotics can reduce the incidence of C. difficile diarrhoea in hospitalised patients.

Reference

Plummer S et al  2004.
Clostridium difficile pilot study: effects of probiotic supplementation on the incidence of C. difficile diarrhoea.
International Microbiology, 7:59-62

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