AGA Practice Guidelines: Probiotics NOT Helpful for Most GI Conditions

Here is a link to the EPUB draft of AGA clinical report (G Su et al. Gastroenterology DOI: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.059): AGA Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Role of Probiotics in the Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders

Here is a link to the pre-draft technical review by GA Preidis et al. Gastroenterology DOI: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.060 AGA Technical Review on the Role of Probiotics in the Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • The report recommends NOT using probiotics outside of clinical trials for irritable bowel syndrome, Clostridium difficile infection treatment, Crohn’s disease, and gastroenteritis.
  • It recommends a specific probiotic for pouchitis and for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants <37 weeks and 3 probiotics for patients who are receiving antibiotics (to prevent Clostridium difficile infection)

CNN summary: Probiotics don’t do much for most people’s gut health despite the hype, review finds

“While our guideline does highlight a few use cases for probiotics, it more importantly underscores that the public’s assumptions about the benefits of probiotics are not well-founded,” said Dr. Grace L. Su, a professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in a news statement. She was the chair of the panel that issued the new guidance….

“The industry is largely unregulated and marketing of product is often geared directly at consumers without providing direct and consistent proof of effectiveness,” said the new guidelines. “This has led to widespread use of probiotics with confusing evidence for clinical efficacy,” it said…

“Not all probiotics are created equal. Some probiotic strains and mixtures are very effective for some types of diseases and should not be overlooked due to studies that lump all probiotics together as one”

My take: Probiotics are overhyped and underperform for most conditions. This report suggests that most people should NOT be taking probiotics.

Related blog posts:

Great Issue: We Need More Negative Studies (Published)

A recent ACG “Negative Issue” had some terrific articles –thanks to Ben Gold for sharing his issue.

Here are a few of the studies:

  1. Buspirone had similar efficacy as placebo in a randomized clinical trial for childhood functional abdominal pain, (n=117)  Full text: Comparison of the Efficacy of Buspirone and Placebo in Childhood Functional Abdominal Pain Key finding: Treatment response rates for buspirone and placebo were 58.3% and 59.6% at week 4 (P = 0.902) and 68.1% and 71.1% at week 12 (P = 0.753), respectively.
  2. IBS does not increase mortality in a nationwide cohort study (>300,000 in study)  Full text: Mortality Risk in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Key finding: After adjustment for confounders, IBS was not linked to mortality (HR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.92–1.00) …and patients with IBS not undergoing a colorectal biopsy were at no increased risk of death (HR = 1.02; 95% CI = 0.99–1.06).
  3. Mongerson was not effective for active Crohn’s disease in a large phase 3 study, n=701 Full text: Mongersen (GED-0301) for Active Crohn’s Disease Key finding: The primary endpoint, clinical remission achievement (CD Activity Index score <150) at week 12, was attained in 22.8% of patients on GED-0301 vs 25% on placebo (P = 0.6210). At study termination, proportions of patients achieving clinical remission at week 52 were similar among individual GED-0301 groups and placebo.
  4. Treatment of H pylori did not increase the risk of C difficile infection (retrospective study)  Full text: Treatment of Helicobacter pylori & Clostridium difficile  Key finding: Of these 38,535 patients with H pylori based on endoscopic pathology, urea breath testing, or stool antigen, 284 (0.74%) had subsequent CDI. Those who developed CDI were less likely to have received treatment for HP within the VHA (66.2% vs 74.8%, P < 0.001)
  5. Percutaneous liver biospy was not safer when done by experienced clinician compared to a fellow, n=212 biopsies  Full text: Major Complications of Pediatric Percutaneous Liver Biopsy Do Not Differ Among Physicians With Different Degrees of Training  Key finding: No significant differences were found between groups (fellows vs staff) regarding number of punctures (median of 1.7 for both), nonrepresentative biopsies (4.2% vs 2.6%), and hemoglobin drop (median of 0.7 vs 0.5 g/L).  Interestingly, in the discussion, the authors assert: “previous studies do not support the conclusion that ultrasound-guided biopsies are superior in terms of safety or adequacy when compared with the use of ultrasound to mark the puncture” (this is based on a study referenced from 2007:  J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007;22(9):1490–3.)  However, given that severe complications from liver biopsy are infrequent, this current study may be underpowered to detect a small difference between experienced clinicians and fellows.

Related blog posts:


It’s come to this:  Link: YouTube: Dirty Dancing Remake -Safest with a Lamp (this link is for Bernsie). 4 minute video.

Two Studies: 1. COVID-19 Transmissibility 2.Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in 372 Children

A study in Nature suggests that more than 40% of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-19 viral infections) are spread in the presymptomatic stage: Temporal dynamics in viral shedding andtransmissibility of COVID-19 (Thanks to Steven Liu for this reference).

An excerpt:
We report temporal patterns of viral shedding in 94 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and modeled COVID-19 infectiousness profiles from a separate sample of 77 infector–infectee transmission pairs. We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset. We estimated that 44% (95% confidence interval, 25–69%) of secondary cases were infected during the index cases’ presymptomatic stage, in settings with substantial household clustering, active case finding and quarantine outside the home. Disease control measures should be adjusted to account for probable substantial presymptomatic transmission.

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A recent retrospective multi-center study (MR Nicholson et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 612-9) provides data on fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Congratulations to one of my partners, Jeffery Lewis, who is one of the coauthors. This paper’s abstract is noted in a separate blog: Large Study Show FMT Efficacy/Safety in Children.

Though this is a pediatric study, the authors included patients up to 23 years.  335 of the patients had followup for at least 2 months following FMT.

Key findings:

  • 81% of patients had a successful outcome after a single FMT and 86.6% after single or repeated FMT
  • Higher success rates were associated with fresh donor stool (OR 2.66), FMT via colonoscopy (OR 2.41), and with not having a feeding tube (OR 2.08)
  • Though not reaching statistical significance, patients with inflammatory bowel disease had a high failure rate of 23% (26/111).  Short bowel syndrome patients had a 50% failure rate (5/10), solid organ transplant recipients had a 56% failure rate (5/9), and patients with feeding tubes had a 32% failure rate (21/65).
  • Seventeen patients (4.7%) had a severe adverse event during the 3-month follow-up period, including 10 hospitalizations; however, the majority were unrelated to FMT. Specific adverse reactions that were related or may have been included aspiration pneumonia on day of procedure (n=1), IBD flare/colectomy (n=5), and vomiting/dehydration (n=1)
  • Common adverse reactions included diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. (These symptoms have been reported in up to 70% of adults following FMT.)

The authors note that a prior systematic review had indicated that delivery of FMT via colonoscopy was more successful in adults (95% vs 88%), though there are some additional risks with colonoscopy.

It is worth considering that the failure rate in some patients could be due to misdiagnosis, particularly in certain populations like patients with IBD and or organ transplant recipients.  In these populations, PCR assays may result in false-positive diagnosis and should be confirmed with an ELISA assay.   While eradication of CDI with FMT improves clinical symptoms and reduces the use of antibiotics the true benefit and risks will not be known for a long time.  Does FMT increase or reduce the risk of downstream infections, autoimmune disease, and metabolic syndrome?

My take: Many of the concerns with FMT can only be adequately addressed with prospective studies (with strict definitions of CDI) and longer followup.

Related blog posts:

Island Ford, Sandy Springs

Deconstructing PPI-Associated Risks with Nearly 8 Billion Data Points and More on COVID-19 GI Symptoms (Video)

Link: 22 minute video —COVID-19 and the GI Tract -What We Know Right Now

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A recent study (C Ma et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 780-82) used cross-sectional data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) (2006-2015) with a total 7,872,115,883 weighted observations.  They used this data to evaluate medication exposures and outcomes.

Key findings:

  • There was no association between PPI use and dementia, pneumonia, or intestinal infections.  There was a trend towards intestinal infections (AOR 1.48, CI 0.80-2.71) but this did not reach statistical significance. “Sensitivity analysis showed an association between PPI use and C difficile.”
  • There was an association with chronic kidney disease (CKD) (AOR 1.26); however, this was seen with a multitude of drug classes including statins, calcium channel blockers, and beta-blockers.

Discussion:

  • This study notes that a recent large randomized controlled trial found no statistically significant differences between those receiving PPIs and those receiving placebo except for intestinal infections.
  • With regard to CKD, “it is extremely unlikely that all of these medications increase the risk of CKD, and therefore, it is likely that these findings are due to residual confounding.”

My take: With the exception of C difficile/intestinal infections, this study provides further evidence of the safety of PPIs and a lack of association between these medications and purported PPI-related adverse events.  That said, it is still a good idea to limit use for appropriate indications.

Related blog posts:


Also, IOIBD recommendations for IBD patients and COVID-19 have been published.

Here is link as well:

IOIBD (International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Recommendations (#76) for IBD Patients with Regard to COVID-19:

Full link: IOIBD Update on COVID19 for Patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (3/26/20)

 

C difficile three-fer: Overdiagnosis with Multiplex Testing, Fidaxomicin Pediatric Approval, & Changing Incidence

Queen Elizabeth II -picture for the pandemic

JM Cotter et al. (J Pediatr 2020; 218: 157-65) reviewed 1214 C difficile positive results from a total of 6841 C difficile tests 2013-15 & 2015-17). Key findings:

  • In the later era of multiplex tests, there was a much higher rate of C difficile detection (1.7-2.3 times higher) and a much higher rate of detection.
  • However, 31% of the multiplex tests identified another organism which indicates a high likelihood of a false-positive test (C difficile colonization)
  • Many of these “C difficile infections” were detected simply due to ease of test ordering.  In addition, the test results should be viewed with suspicion particularly in low-risk individuals.
  • Nearly one-third of the C difficile infected patients were oncology patients who are known to have high rates of asymptomatic colonization.
  • In patients known to have high risk of asymptomatic colonization (eg. young, oncology, IBD), detection of C difficile infection may lead to anchoring bias resulting in diagnostic delays for other disorders.

My take: We know that we are approaching the diagnosis of C difficile infection the wrong way (see IDSA guidelines below), but it is so quick and easy.

Related blog posts:

  • Clostridium difficile Guidelines The diagnosis of CDI… Molecular tests (eg, nucleic acid amplification tests [NAATs], such as polymerase chain reaction), which do not differentiate colonization and infection, are now the most commonly used test for CDI among US hospitals. NAATs have the potential to misdiagnose patients with colonization as having CDI, particularly when used in patients with low likelihood of CDI. Thus, this guideline strongly reinforces the importance of practicing good diagnostic stewardship and limiting C difficile testing to patients with new-onset, unexplained, and clinically significant (ie, at least 3 unformed stools in a 24-hour period) diarrhea…formed stools should not be tested for C difficile, nor should patients be retested within 7 days of a previous negative C difficile test. In pediatric populations, because of the unclear role of C difficile as a cause of diarrhea in infants, children less than 12 months of age should not be tested…If diagnostic stewardship is not an achievable goal, use of NAAT alone is likely to lead to frequent misdiagnosis of CDI among patients with C difficile colonization. In these cases, NAAT alone should be avoided and a multistep algorithm that incorporates toxin testing is recommended.

From MDEdge Pediatrics: full link: FDA approves fidaxomicin for treatment of C. difficile-associated diarrhea

An excerpt:

Approval [by FDA] was based on results from SUNSHINE, a phase 3, multicenter, investigator-blind, randomized, parallel-group study in 142 pediatric patients aged between 6 months and 18 years with confirmed C. difficile infection who received either fidaxomicin or vancomycin for 10 days. Clinical response 2 days after the conclusion of treatment was similar in both groups (77.6% for fidaxomicin vs. 70.5% for vancomycin), and fidaxomicin had a superior sustained response 30 days after the conclusion of treatment (68.4% vs. 50.0%)…

The fidaxomicin pediatric trial was the first randomized, controlled trial of C. difficile infection treatment in children,” Larry K. Kociolek, MD

AY Guh et al. NEJM 2020; 382: 1320-30. The authors examined the U.S. Burden of CDI by using the Emerging Infections Program (35 counties in 10 states). Key findings:

  • 15,461 cases of CDI in 2011 and 15,5512 in 2017 detected which extrapolates to 476,000 national cases in 2011 and 462,400 national cases in 2017
  • When accounting for increased use of PCR assays, the authors estimate that the C difficile infectious burden decreased by 24% from 2011 to 2017 (due to a drop in health care-associated infections.

My wife has been receiving a lot of compliments for her daily jokes which she decided to post for all of the neighborhood walkers: “If number two pencils are so popular, why are they still number 2?”

More Details on Drug-Resistant E coli Transmitted by Fecal Microbiota Transplant

In June 2019, the FDA delivered a warning about the potential danger of transmitting drug-resistant E coli with fecal microbiota tranplantaion (FMT).  (FDA Warning for FMT)

A report on this issue has now been published: Z DeFilipp et al. NEJM 381: 2043-50, editorial M Blaser pgs 264-6.

The authors describe two patients, a 69 year-old with cirrhosis and a 73 year-old sp stem cell transplantation, who developed bacteremia due to transmission of a drug-resistant (extended-spectrum beta-lactamase [ESBL]) E coli following FMT which was delivered by oral capsules. The latter patient died from sepsis. The two patients had a genomicly-identical strain isolated that was also found in the donated aliquot.

In the commentary, a couple of important points:

  • “Up to now, the complications have been infrequent [from FMT], and for recurrent C difficile infection, the benefits of FMT clearly outweigh the risks; however, as the use of FMT is broadened and more compromised patients are treated, complications may be more frequently observed.”
  • “In the short term, improved and uniform screening of FMT material is needed to reduce the risks.”

My take: Both of these patients who became developed bacteremia were at risk for more severe infections.  However, we need to remain aware that severe complications can and do occur with FMT.  In context, though, there are risks of severe complications from routine use of antibiotics as well.

Frontenac Hotel, Quebec City

Only 3% Make It Through the Donor Screening Process for Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

A recent letter (Z Kassam et al. NEJM 2019; 381: 2070-2) describes the arduous process involved in being selected as a stool donor for fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).

In a previous blog (2015), it appeared that 17% of donors were accepted for FMT: Rejected! Most Stool is Not Good Enough for FMT This current review of the donor program from a stool bank (OpenBiome) prospectively evaluated 15,317 donor candidates from 2014-2018.

Key finding:

  • Only 3% (n=386) made it through all the steps to become donors

Reasons for exclusion:

Stage 1: common reasons for exclusion:

  • geographical -living too far away to donate regularly
  • BMI >30
  • social history
  • travel history
  • not in age range

Stage 2: “failing” the 200-item clinical assessment –common reasons for exclusion:

  • lost to followup
  • allergic disorders/asthma
  • receiving medications/supplements
  • mental health concerns
  • infectious disease history
  • social history/sexual history/other reasons

Stage 3: “failing” the stool and nasal screening which included (in 2016) carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacea (CRE), extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing organisms (ESBL) and MRSA. –common reasons for exclusion:

  • lost to followup
  • infectious disorders (including C diff in 7 patients)

Stage 4: “failing” serological screening

  • lost to followup
  • abnormal LFTs, CBC or infection

Related blog posts:

Island Ford, Sandy Springs, GA

#NASPGHAN19 Postgraduate Course (Part 2)

Here are some selected slides and notes from this year’s NASPGHAN’s postrgraduate course. My notes from these lectures may contain errors of omission or transcription.

Link to the full NASPGHAN PG Syllabus 2019 (Borrowed with permission)

9:00 – 10:20 “Potpourri”

46 Alessio Fasano, MD, MassGeneral Hospital for Children  Celiac disease: Beyond diagnosis

  • Reviewed potential non-biopsy option for diagnosis if anti-TG2 >10 x normal. Pediatricians are not following recommendations –>many children placed on gluten-free diet at lower titer antibody-positivity.
  • Recommends checking Hepatitis B antibody because many children with celiac disease do not seroconvert.
  • TTG levels are good for diagnosis but not as helpful for monitoring after diagnosis.
  • Only 10 out of 1000 are true refractory, about 100 out of 1000 are exquisitely sensitive to gluten

56 Meghana Sathe, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Center The role of the gastroenterologist and hepatologist in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) care today

  • Fecal elastase monitoring useful for determining need for PERT.
  • Discussed CF liver involvement.  Multilobular cirrhosis, 7% of individuals, is most important liver disease in CF.
  • Modulator therapy can elevate liver enzymes and may need to hold if ALT >5 ULN or lower elevation if elevated bilirubin (see Stop Rules -Practical Advice on DILI)
  • DIOS -for partial obstruction, polyethylene glycol and/or gastrogastrin enemas could be used.
  • Consider treatment of SBBO as well which is frequent with CF.

67 Sonia Michail, MD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Update on C. difficile

The slide I liked the best was showing a change in microbiome after FMT which is not in syllabus.

82 Ed Hoffenberg, MD, Children’s Hospital Colorado  What the pediatric GI provider needs to know about cannabis

Disclaimer: NASPGHAN/gutsandgrowth assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. The discussion, views, and recommendations as to medical procedures, choice of drugs and drug dosages herein are the sole responsibility of the authors. Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the Society cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure. Some of the slides reproduced in this syllabus contain animation in the power point version. This cannot be seen in the printed version.

Large Study Shows FMT Efficacy/Safety in Children

Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019. In press: Efficacy of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Clostridium difficile Infection in Children Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference.

Abstract

Background & Aims

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is commonly used to treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). CDI is an increasing cause of diarrheal illness in pediatric patients, but the effects of FMT have not been well studied in children. We performed a multi-center retrospective cohort study of pediatric and young adult patients to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and factors associated with a successful FMT for the treatment of CDI.

Methods

We performed a retrospective study of 372 patients, 11 months to 23 years old, who underwent FMTs at 18 pediatric centers, from February 1, 2004 to February 28, 2017; 2-month outcome data were available from 335 patients. Successful FMT was defined as no recurrence of CDI in the 2 months following FMT. We performed stepwise logistic regression to identify factors associated with successful FMT.

Results

Of 335 patients who underwent FMT and were followed for 2 months or more, 271 (81%) had a successful outcome following a single FMT and 86.6% had a successful outcome following a first or repeated FMT. Patients who received FMT with fresh donor stool (odds ratio [OR], 2.66; 95% CI, 1.39–5.08), underwent FMT via colonoscopy (OR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.26–4.61), did not have a feeding tube (OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.05–4.11), or had 1 less episode of CDI before FMT (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.04–1.39) had increased odds for successful FMT. Seventeen patients (4.7%) had a severe adverse event during the 3-month follow-up period, including 10 hospitalizations.

Conclusion

Based on the findings from a large multi-center retrospective cohort, FMT is effective and safe for the treatment of CDI in children and young adults. Further studies are required to optimize the timing and method of FMT for pediatric patients—factors associated with success differ from those of adult patients.

Related blog posts:

Park Guell, Barcelona

Clostridium difficile and Cannabis

Briefly noted:

W El-Matary et al. J Pediatr 2019; 206: 20-5.  This study from Manitoba using electronic database found that the incidence rate of C difficile was stable from 2005-2015, with an overall rate of 7.8 per 100,000 person-years.  Children with Hirschsprung’s and inflammatory bowel disease had increased prevalence rates.

JL O’Loughlin et al. J Pediatr 2019; 206: 142-7. Using data from two longitudinal studies in Montreal (Cannabis is legal for adults in Canada since 2018), the authors examined the rate of cannabis initiation starting in 6th grade through 11th grade. Key finding was that cannabis use was 1.8 time more likely among children whose parents used cannabis.  Overall, cannabis use increased from 3.1% in grade 6 to 25.7% in grade 11.

What is erythromelagia?  This term was noted in the title of a recent report (J Pediatr 2019; 206: 217-24) and refers to bilateral episodic pain and redness that occurs in feet, hands and occasionally the ears.  In some case, symptoms progress proximally to involve the legs, arms, and rarely the face.