According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), C. diff causes an inflammation of the colon (colitis), with the most common symptoms of infection being diarrhea and fever.
Over 250,000 Clostridium difficile infections are reported in the US every year, which is more than the ‘flu (200,000). Between 15,000 and 30,000 deaths are believed to be due to C. diff every year.
Current treatments, ranging from changing the antibiotics used to dietary changes, reported to have limited effectiveness and people are subject to relapse.
"Although the company continues its R&D program, the clinical results published to date, on this unique product, have demonstrated its potential of reducing the risk of this prevalent disease. Health Canada's approval is further support for the product's role in prevention of C. difficile associated diarrhea," said Dr Donald Low, Microbiologist-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
The Canadian company’s scientific support for its ingredient includes a paper in the prestigious American Journal of Gastroenterology.
"A hospitalized patient who receives Bio-K+ 100 cfu administered concomitantly with the antibiotic therapy generates a cost-savings of $2,700 per patient versus a patient who receives the same antibiotics without Bio-K+ - a potential savings of over $200 million to our healthcare system annually. These savings come over and above reduction in mortality rate and recurrence cost associated with C. difficile," said Dr. Jacques LeLorier, Chief, Pharmacoepiodemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research, Hotel-Dieu Hospital, CHUM, Montreal.
"This is an important step that will help thousands of patients. It will prevent unnecessary suffering, improve their general health and even save their lives. The healthcare system could also be saving millions of dollars," added Dr. Jacques Besson, President of the Association for Victims of Nosocomial Infections (ADVIN).