Web Zap*Germs Archive

December 31, 2005

Yogurt-based Probiotics One Solution to C-diff Infections

WaPo uses the local-patient angle to discuss the growing problem with antibiotic-resistant C. diff. (Clostridium difficile) infections, which I covered on 02 December. This new story adds some additional detail, however, including the revelation that some sufferers find relief through probiotic ingestion:
Canadian researchers [...] have found one possible culprit: popular new heartburn drugs. Patients taking proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec and Prevacid, are almost three times as likely to be diagnosed with C-diff , the McGill University researchers reported in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. And those taking another type called H2-receptor antagonists, such as Pepcid and Zantac, are twice as likely. By suppressing stomach acid, the drugs may inadvertently help the bug, the researchers said.

Whatever the cause, the infection often resists standard treatment. That is what happened to [Christina] Shultz, who had been taking antibiotics to help clear up her acne when C. diff hit in June. Because the bacterium can hibernate in protective spores, patients can be prone to recurrences. It can take multiple rounds of antibiotics -- or sometimes infusions of antibodies or ingesting competing organisms such as yeast or the bacteria found in yogurt -- to finally cure them.


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