Fecal microbiota transplantation in inflammatory bowel disease: beyond the excitement

Medicine (Baltimore). 2014 Oct;93(19):e97. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000097.


The purpose of this article is to perform a systematic review of the literature on the use of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).There is an increasing interest of both physicians and patients in assessing the possible role of the FMT in the treatment of IBD.Electronic and manual bibliographic searches were performed to identify original reports in which subjects with IBD were treated with FMT. Because of the scarcity of studies with adequate sample size, case series and case reports were also considered. A critical appraisal of the clinical research evidence on the effectiveness, safety, and other parameters related to FMT was made. Data extraction was independently performed by 2 reviewers.We found a total of 31 publications on the use of FMT in IBD. The majority were case reports or case series, whereas 8 publications reported data from open-label trials including a very less number of patients. A total of 133 patients with IBD were managed with FMT. Of these, 57 subjects (43%) had a Clostridium difficile infection. A resolution or reduction of symptoms was reported in 80 of 113 (71%) patients with evaluable IBD. Moreover, FMT does not seem to provide the same safety profile showed for non-IBD individuals with C difficile infection.The available evidence is limited and weak. FMT has the potential to be somehow of help in managing patients with IBD, but considerable further efforts are necessary to make this procedure a valid option for these subjects.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Transplants / physiology*