The Pill for C. Diff.

The Pill for C. Diff.

“What’s Up, Doc?” Bugs Bunny was a tough pill to swallow for both Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. The wise-cracking, Brooklyn-born bunny could even raise havoc on the moon! But there are some Bugs that aren’t so tough to take -- and they’re packed into the latest FMT (fecal microbial transplant) capsule. Encapsulated FMT’s have been around for awhile, but this one is different. It’s frozen, so it promises to be able to be shipped and stored, making it more widely available. Currently in Spanish trials, it appears to cure the severe and sometimes life-threatening gastrointestinal infection C. difficile around 90 percent of the time.

We’ve watched the progress made since the early days of the fecal enema (big ICK factor, but highly effective) or running a tube through the patient’s nose into to the intestine to deposit a more refined slurry of gut bacteria. They worked well, but it took guts to try them! Now with “a frozen suspension of faecal material” inside a capsule it looks like microbial transplantation will be as easy as 1-2-3. And having standardized and safe FMT should allow the FDA, NIH and CDC to get through the planning stages for establishing a US stool bio-repository bank and make it a reality.

That’s great news for the more than 80,000 people a year who develop the debilitating C. difficile infection while in the hospital. It also sets the stage for further exploring the benefits FMT offers folks with colitis, Crohn’s and other forms of irritable bowel disease.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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