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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 97

of 'Clostridium difficile in adults: Treatment'

Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy for severe Clostridium difficile colitis.
Salcedo J, Keates S, Pothoulakis C, Warny M, Castagliuolo I, LaMont JT, Kelly CP
Gut. 1997;41(3):366.
BACKGROUND: Many individuals have serum antibodies against Clostridium difficile toxins. Those with an impaired antitoxin response may be susceptible to recurrent, prolonged, or severe C difficile diarrhoea and colitis.
AIMS: To examine whether treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin might be effective in patients with severe pseudomembranous colitis unresponsive to standard antimicrobial therapy.
PATIENTS: Two patients with pseudomembranous colitis not responding to metronidazole and vancomycin were given normal pooled human immunoglobulin intravenously (200-300 mg/kg).
METHODS: Antibodies against C difficile toxins were measured in nine immunoglobulin preparations by ELISA and by cytotoxin neutralisation assay.
RESULTS: Both patients responded quickly as shown by resolution of diarrhoea, abdominal tenderness, and distension. All immunoglobulin preparationstested contained IgG against C difficile toxins A and B by ELISA and neutralised the cytotoxic activity of C difficile toxins in vitro at IgG concentrations of 0.4-1.6 mg/ml.
CONCLUSION: Passive immunotherapy with intravenous immunoglobulin may be a useful addition to antibiotic therapy for severe, refractory C difficile colitis. IgG antitoxin is present in standard immunoglobulin preparations and C difficile toxin neutralising activity is evident at IgG concentrations which are readily achieved in the serum by intravenous immunoglobulin administration.
Section of Gastroenterology, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, USA.