Randomised clinical trial: faecal microbiota transplantation by colonoscopy plus vancomycin for the treatment of severe refractory Clostridium difficile infection-single versus multiple infusions

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Jul;48(2):152-159. doi: 10.1111/apt.14816. Epub 2018 May 30.


Background: Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a highly effective treatment against recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Far less evidence exists on the efficacy of FMT in treating severe Clostridium difficile infection refractory to antibiotics.

Aim: To compare the efficacy of two FMT-based protocols associated with vancomycin in curing subjects with severe Clostridium difficile infection refractory to antibiotics.

Methods: Subjects with severe Clostridium difficile infection refractory to antibiotics were randomly assigned to one of the two following treatment arms: (1) FMT-S, including a single faecal infusion via colonoscopy followed by a 14-day vancomycin course, (2) FMT-M, including multiple faecal infusions plus a 14-day vancomycin course. In the FMT-M group, all subjects received at least two infusions, while those with pseudomembranous colitis underwent further infusions until the disappearance of pseudomembranes. The primary outcome was the cure of refractory severe Clostridium difficile infection.

Results: Fifty six subjects, 28 in each treatment arm, were enrolled. Twenty one patients in the FMT-S group and 28 patients in the FMT-M group were cured (75% vs 100%, respectively, both in per protocol and intention-to-treat analyses; P = 0.01). No serious adverse events associated with any of the two treatment protocols were observed.

Conclusions: A pseudomembrane-driven FMT protocol consisting of multiple faecal infusions and concomitant vancomycin was significantly more effective than a single faecal transplant followed by vancomycin in curing severe Clostridium difficile infection refractory to antibiotics. Clinical-Trials.gov registration number: NCT03427229.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clostridioides difficile / drug effects
  • Clostridium Infections / microbiology
  • Clostridium Infections / therapy*
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / microbiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / therapy
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation / methods*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vancomycin / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03427229