Kinetics of Intestinal Presence of Spores Following Oral Administration of Bacillus clausii Formulations: Three Single-Centre, Crossover, Randomised, Open-Label Studies

Pierluigi Navarra, Stefano Milleri, Marcos Perez Iii, Maria Chiara Uboldi, Paolo Pellegrino, Beatrice Bois De Fer, Lorenzo Morelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background and Objective: Probiotics are live microorganisms that may provide benefits including the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders and other diseases. Enterogermina is a probiotic mix of spores from four strains of Bacillus clausii (O/C, T, N/R and SIN), available in several oral formulations. The objective of this analysis was to evaluate and compare the kinetic profiles of different formulations of Enterogermina—vial [E4 once daily (OD) and E2 twice daily (BID)], capsule [EC2 three times daily (TID)], oral powder for suspension (ES6 OD) and oral powder not requiring suspension (E6 OD) from two studies from 2012 (EUDRACT 2010-024497-19 and 2010-023187-41) and one study from 2016 (EUDRACT 2015-003330-27). Methods: B. clausii spores were counted in homogenised faecal samples (results expressed as counts per gram) or after culture at 37 °C for 24–36 h (results expressed as colony-forming units). Kinetics were assessed by area under the concentration–time curve (AUC), maximum concentration (Cmax), time to maximum concentration (Tmax) and spore presence/persistence. Results: In total, 22 subjects in each of the 2012 studies and 30 subjects in the 2016 study were randomised (mean age 25.0–33.8 years across studies). The mean (±SD) absolute faecal spore counts (in millions) expressed as AUC per hour were 270.7 ± 147.7 (E2 BID) and 213.8 ± 60.2 (E4 OD) in 2012 EGKINETIC4, 312.7 ± 218.0 (EC2 TID) and 319.0 ± 221.1 (ES6 OD) in 2012 EGKINETIC6, and 212.6 ± 118.0 (E6 OD) and 293.2 ± 247.2 (ES6 OD) in 2016 EGKINETIC6OP. The kinetic profiles of the different formulations of Enterogermina were similar, with superimposable AUC and daily curve profiles in each study up to the 8th day post dose. B. clausii spore presence/persistence in the intestine of healthy volunteers did not differ between the two formulations within each of the three studies. Enterogermina was well tolerated across all formulations and studies. Conclusion: These results show different formulations of Enterogermina had similar kinetic profiles within each study; however, they also showed that probiotics could be associated with high variability. The European Medicines Agency guidelines are the current bioequivalence reference, although only the Tmax parameter is used for high variability drugs. Due to the specific kinetics of probiotics, new parameters of bioequivalence could be necessary, considering, for example, variability via a parameter such as AUC. Trial registration: EUDRACT 2010-024497-19, 2010-023187-41 and 2015-003330-27.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-384
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
Publication statusPublished - 2021




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