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Eighteen commonly used categories of drugs profoundly affect the gut microbiome, changing the make-up of bacterial populations and altering the microbiome’s metabolic potential, according to a study presented at UEG Week 2019, in Barcelona, Spain. An additional eight categories were found to facilitate the development of antimicrobial resistance.
Researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Center, both in the Netherlands, analyzed 1,883 human fecal samples and compared those of drug users to nondrug users. The differences they observed could increase risk of intestinal infections, obesity, and other serious disorders linked with the gut microbiome.
The drugs found to have the greatest effect on the intestinal microbiome included proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), used to treat conditions such as peptic ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux; metformin, used for type 2 diabetes; antibiotics; and laxatives. PPI use was associated with greater abundance of upper GI tract bacteria in the gut, along with increased fatty acid production. Users of metformin had higher levels of E. coli in their fecal samples.
Lead researcher Arnau Vich Vila commented: “Our work highlights the importance of considering the role of the gut microbiota when designing treatments and also points to new hypotheses that could explain certain side-effects associated with medication use.”
Source: UEG Week: Half of all commonly used drugs profoundly affecting the gut microbiome, warn experts. United European Gastroenterology, October 23, 2019. www.ueg.eu/press/releases/ueg-press-release/article/ueg-week-half-of-all-commonly-used-drugs-profoundly-affecting-the-gut-microbiome-warn-experts/.
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Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Fall 2019 | Volume 43, Number 2
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