Impact of adding prophylactic probiotics to a bundle of standard preventative measures for Clostridium difficile infections: enhanced and sustained decrease in the incidence and severity of infection at a community hospital

Curr Med Res Opin. 2013 Oct;29(10):1341-7. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2013.833501. Epub 2013 Aug 30.


Background: In 2003, hospitals in Quebec, Canada experienced an increase of NAP1/027 Clostridium difficile infections following antibiotic administration (CDIAA). At Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital (PLGH), the incidence increased from 10 to over 25 cases per 1000 patient admissions.

Methods: We report a quasi-experimental, prospective cohort study evaluating the effect on CDIAA of a probiotic added to existing C. difficile infection (CDI) standard preventative measures (SPM) in 31,832 hospitalized patients receiving antibiotics. Phase I (1580) measured the impact of SPM alone. In Phase II, 50 to 60 × 10(9) cfu daily dose of oral Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285 and L. casei LBC80R probiotic formula (Bio-K+) was administered to all patients receiving antibiotics. Phase III included the same intervention after a move to a new hospital facility. Phases II and III included 4968 patients. During Phase IV, 25,284 patients were submitted to the same regimen but outcome data were compared to those of similar hospitals in Quebec.

Results: At the end of Phase III, CDIAA had decreased from more than 18 cases per 1000 patient admissions in Phase I to less than 5 cases. Reductions of CDI cases (73%) (p < 0.001) and severe CDI cases (76.4%) (p < 0.001) were observed. CDI recurrence rate was reduced by 39% (p < 0.001). During the following 6 years, the CDI rate averaged 2.71 cases per 10,000 patient-days at PLGH compared to 8.50 cases per 10,000 patient-days in equivalent hospitals located in Quebec.

Study limitation: This study is not a randomized clinical trial; it is an open prospective study and should be treated as such. Also, following Phase II, PLGH moved into a new facility and this could have contributed to lower CDI.

Conclusions: Specific probiotic product added to SPM and antibiotic stewardship activities resulted in a further reduction in CDI rates and was shown to be safe.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Clostridioides difficile*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / epidemiology*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lacticaseibacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents