Doctors are investigating a new way to cure a common hospital infection with an uncommon ingredient: human poop.
Researchers from universities in Canada recently conducted an experiment to determine how fecal microbiota transplantation capsules or poop pills can be used to treat patients with Clostridium difficile, a sometimes deadly bacteria infection that can cause inflammation of the colon, cramping and diarrhea. It affects older adults in hospitals or long-term care facilities.
To do so, they examined 116 individuals with the illness. About half received FMT via colonoscopy and others received it via pills, which were tasteless. After three months, about 96 percent of the subjects from both groups had completely recovered.
“FMT via oral capsules was not inferior to delivery by colonoscopy for preventing recurrent infection over 12 weeks. Treatment with oral capsules may be an effective approach to treating” the infection, the authors wrote.
In fact, many patients noted the pill treatment was not unpleasant. About 66 percent of the patients who took the capsule rated their experience as “not at all unpleasant,” while only 44 percent who had the colonoscopy said the same. The pills are cheaper, too. Colonoscopies cost nearly $500 more.
The pills, which contain feces donated from someone else, help reboot the digestive system by ridding of harmful properties that make us sick just like colonoscopies. The capsules, however, move through the body more naturally as colonoscopies require a long, flexible instrument that is inserted through the rectum.
While FMT isn’t a common practice. Scientists hope to continue their studies to find out if it can be an effective way to cure other diseases.
Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the results, which were published Journal of the American Medical Association this week.