Poo transplants are to be offered to hundreds of patients suffering from a 'superbug' to help tackle their infections.

A faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is being recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for patients who have two or more treatments for a hard-to-treat bacteria without success.

NICE says that treating people with gut bacteria taken from a healthy person’s poo can help restore healthy gut bacteria.

Clostridium difficile (C.diff) is a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhoea and tends to affect those who have been taking antibiotics.

Bournemouth Echo: Doctor wearing a stethoscope. Credit: PADoctor wearing a stethoscope. Credit: PA

Poo transplant could save the NHS thousands of pounds

C.diff is often named a 'superbug' due to its resistance to treatment on some occasions but it can be treated with another kind of antibiotic. 

Clinical trials have shown how effective FMT treatment is, compared to antibiotics by themselves, at resolving the bacteria infection, NICE said.

The treatment could save the NHS thousands of pounds, according to evidence presented by the Institute.

Saving more than £8,000, FMT can be considerably cheaper than antibiotics if it is offered as a capsule.

It would save hundreds of pounds as a colonoscopy procedure and would actually be more expensive when given as an enema.

NICE's decision comes after reviewing the results of five trials of 274 adults.

Four of the trials reported that more C.diff infections were resolved with FMT than antibiotic treatment and noted no difference with the other.

The treatment is said to resolve up to 94% of infections, according to the trial data.

Bournemouth Echo: Doctor in a hospital. Credit: PADoctor in a hospital. Credit: PA

Patients may end up needing to take fewer antibiotics and have reported a better quality of life, NICE added.

Mark Chapman, interim director of Medical Technology at NICE, said: “There is currently a need for an effective treatment of C.diff in people who have had two or more rounds of antibiotics.

“Our committee’s recommendation of this innovative treatment will provide another tool for health professionals to use in the fight against this infection, while at the same time balancing the need to offer the best care with value for money.

“Use of this treatment will also help reduce the reliance on antibiotics and in turn reduce the chances of antimicrobial resistance, which supports NICE’s guidance on good antimicrobial stewardship.”

FMT can be swallowed in pill form but can also be delivered by inserting a tube directly into the stomach through the nose.

It can also be administered into the colon through a tube as well. 

The institute has estimated that 450 to 500 people in England could receive FMT treatment each year if they experience multiple recurrences of C.diff infections.

NICE also recommended that a strict donor screening programme should be in place as well as treatments that should be manufactured in accordance with human medicine regulations.