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article imageHalf of all commonly used drugs change the gut microbiome

By Tim Sandle     Oct 23, 2019 in Health
New research, presented at UEG Week 2019 (19-23 October), has linked half of all commonly used drugs to profound changes in the gut microbiome. This has implications for human health and wellbeing.
The novel research, which was outlined at UEG Week Barcelona 2019, examined 41 commonly used drug categories in relation to the impact upon the human microbiome of the gut. The research and assessed some 2,000 fecal samples from a population-based cohort.
Research undertaken at the University Medical Center Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Center found that the drug categories found to have the biggest impact included: Proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics, laxatives and metformin. In terms of the changes observed in the microbiome, this was assessed for both single-medications and as a result of a variety of medications taken during the course of the day. It was found that the medications could increase the risk of intestinal infections, obesity and other serious conditions linked to the gut microbiome. The effects were more widespread when combination medications were taken.
The gut microbiome is home to trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, all of which collectively play an important role in maintaining good health. Keeping the microbiome in balance is considered essential for good health and avoiding a range of disease, including many that can be triggered by inflammation.
As an example of the impact of medications, the gut microbiota of proton pump inhibitor users (used to treat dyspepsia ) showed increased abundance of upper gastrointestinal tract bacteria and increased fatty acid production. Taking another example, metformin users (used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes) had higher levels of the potentially harmful bacteria Escherichia coli.
Discussing the findings, principal scientist Dr. Arnau Vich Vila sttaes: “We already know that the efficiency and the toxicity of certain drugs are influenced by the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract and that the gut microbiota has been related to multiple health conditions; therefore, it is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. 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.”
More about microbiome, Gut, Medication, Drugs, Microbiology
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