Gut-sparing treatment of urinary tract infection in patients at high risk of Clostridium difficile infection

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Background: Recipients of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (RCDI) remain at markedly increased risk of re-infection with C. difficile with new antibiotic provocations. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common indications for antibiotics in these patients, often resulting in C. difficile re-infection.

Methods: We present a case series of 19 patients treated with parenteral aminoglycosides for UTI following FMT for RCDI. A 3 day outpatient regimen of once-daily intramuscular administration of gentamicin was used to treat 18 consecutive FMT recipients with uncomplicated UTI. One other patient was treated for a complicated UTI with intravenous amikacin. Profiling of 16S rRNA genes was used to track changes in faecal microbial community structure during this regimen in three patients.

Results: The protocol was highly effective in treating UTI symptoms. None of the patients suffered a re-infection with C. difficile. The faecal microbial communities remained undisturbed by treatment with intramuscular administration of gentamicin.

Conclusions: Despite falling out of favour in recent years, aminoglycoside antibiotics given parenterally have the advantage of minimal penetration into the gut lumen. A brief (3 day) course of parenteral gentamicin was safe and effective in curing UTI in patients at high risk of C. difficile infection without perturbing their gut microbiota.

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