Besides Antibiotics: C Difficile Treatment Options Worth Investigating


Glenn Tillotson, PhD, highlights possible treatment options besides antibiotics that may be worth evaluating for the infectious disease.

Antibiotics are often the first line of treatment for C difficile; however, up-and-coming treatments, such as vaccines and restoration of the microbial flora, provide potential treatment options worth investigating.

While at the 6th International C diff Awareness Conference and Health EXPO in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Glenn Tillotson, PhD, consultant microbiologist, spoke with MD Magazine® and highlighted possible treatment options besides antibiotics that may be worth evaluating for the infectious disease.

Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):

MD Magazine®: Besides antibiotics, what are some other treatment options worth investigating for C difficile?

“I think that what underlies C difficile as an infection is the profound disturbance to the protective, normal flora. Usually, a course of an antibiotic can do a lot of damage to that protective flora. I think the most logical thing to think of is [to] replace that flora—not perfectly to what your flora was, but at least enough to provide that layer of protection.

I think restoring the microbial flora to me is a very powerful way forward. It has its problems and pitfalls, several of which originate from the regulators, but that's beyond that's this discussion.

I’m fascinated by the concept of vaccines, [which] have been proven to work in a variety of infections, but the problem is the uptake. If you don't get enough uptake, then the sort of herd immunity doesn't kick in. It sort of questions the validity of the vaccine.

We're currently in influenza season, and I think if you went out onto the high street and asked how many people have had their flu shots, you'd probably be lucky to see 30% to 40%, I think.

Vaccines and restoration of the microbial flora are the other 2 key [non-antibiotic treatment avenues worth investigating]. I know we've looked at immunoglobulins and immune status in the past, but I think that has been a little bit nonspecific. I think the specificity of a vaccine actually is better, so those are my 2 other options to antibiotics.”

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