Impact of Probiotics on Urinary Symptoms in Spinal Cord Injury SCI and SB

MedStar Health logo

MedStar Health

Status and phase

Phase 2


Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms


Drug: Lactobacillus

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


As a collaborative effort between MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH), Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) Department of Urology, Children's Research Institute (CRI) Center for Genetic Medicine Research, Georgetown University, and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, the overall objective of this study is to develop, validate, and assess a patient-initiated, probiotic-based, selfmanagement protocol that is initiated at the time of urinary symptoms. The self-management protocol will allow patients to manage urinary symptoms and avoid potentially unnecessary antibiotic use, and provide a readily-available means of maintaining health, function, and independence throughout the lifespan.

Full description

Lower urinary symptoms are a common issue for individuals with neurogenic bladder, commonly occurring in the Spina bifida and Spinal Cord Injury population. In this study, probiotics will be introduced into the bladder to prevent UTIs. Introduction of probiotics will be determined by a validated symptom questionnaire (USQ-NB) and protocol (SMP-PRO). This study will estimate the strength of the associations between successful implementation of the probiotic self-management program (USQ-NB and SMP-PRO) and urinary symptoms, bladder inflammation, and the urine microbiome. Investigators will conduct an 18-month study in which each participant will serve as his/her own control through 3 phases of study: 6-months usual care (baseline), 6-months probiotic intervention, and 6-months follow-up. Participants will complete the Urinary Symptom Questionnaire weekly. After 6 months of baseline data collection, participants will receive the Lactobacillus (Culturelle GG, 20 billion live organisms for adults and 10 billion live organisms for children <18 years of age), will be instructed on preparation and intravesicular instillation of the Lactobacillus, and will have a tutorial with a fellow consumer on use of the patient-initiated protocol. The protocol and Lactobacillus bladder instillation instructions (including a step-by-step video) will be available on the study website for 24/7 access and written instructions will be provided at the time of instruction. For the intravesicular Lactobacillus instillation, participants will be instructed to mix the contents into sterile saline. After mixing, participants will draw up the liquid Lactobacillus mixture into a 60cc catheter tip syringe and instill via the intermittent catheter after fully emptying the bladder. The amount instilled is determined by the age of the child. Participants will be instructed not to catheterize for at least 4 hours after the bladder instillation. Participants will receive 10 Culturelle GG at the beginning of the treatment phase. At the end of each month, the coordinator or RA will ask how many remaining tablets the participant has, and if needed dispense the next supply of 10 tablets. Participants will be instructed to complete the USQ-NB weekly. If/when urinary symptoms occur, subjects will be instructed to follow the protocol to determine whether to initiate intravesicular Lactobacillus instillation or be evaluated by a physician. The self-management protocol will also direct them to discontinue Lactobacillus instillation or be evaluated by a physician if symptoms remit, persist (after 2 instillations), or worsen. The maximum number of instillations is 2 over 28 hours. If participants are directed by the self-management protocol to seek medical attention or s/he feels the need for medical evaluation, s/he will be advised to obtain care as they typically would by their health care provider. Participants will be supplied with letters to be brought to their health care provider notifying them of the study and requesting sharing of urinalysis and urine culture results with the research team. A verified UTI will include those that resulted in antibiotic treatment by a health care professional. An additional urine sample for metagenomics will either be left with the health care provider for pick up by the research team, brought to the research site, or obtained by the RA at a mutually convenient site. After completion of the 6-month patient-initiated self-management protocol intervention period, participants will monitor symptoms weekly using the USQ-NB.


7 patients




6+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

Age ≥6 years, and Spina bifida and neuropathic bladder, as determined by the attending physician, and Utilization of intermittent catheterization for bladder management, and History of 2 or more urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the past year, and Community dwelling.

Exclusion criteria

Has a known genitourinary pathology beyond neuropathic bladder (e.g. vesicoureteral reflux, bladder stones, kidney stones, etc), and/or Uses prophylactic antibiotics, and/or Uses intravesicular agents to reduce UTI (e.g. gentamycin), and/or Has psychologic or psychiatric conditions influencing the ability to follow instructions, and/or Participates in another study in which results would be confounded, and/or Is pregnant or breastfeeding, and/or Has a history of acquired or genetic immunodeficiencies, or active, acute or chronic serious infections (e.g. viral hepatitides, HIV/AIDs), and/or Has cancer or an autoimmune disorder, and/or Has a serious allergy to any component or excipients in the live bacterial combination product, and/or Has had a change in neurologic status in the previous 2 weeks, and/or Has taken antibiotic for any reason in the previous 2 weeks, and/or Has a history of sensitivity or allergy to ampicillin or tetracycline, and/or Has a current urinary tract infection or urinary tract infection within the previous 2 weeks (as defined by Infectious Diseases Society of America CAUTI Guidelines, 2010).

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Single Group Assignment


None (Open label)

7 participants in 1 patient group

Individuals with Spina Bifida
Experimental group
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Drug: Lactobacillus

Trial documents

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from

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