Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany tested 1200 medications on 38 types of gut bacteria to see if some non-antibiotic medications still affect bacteria. 835 of these medications were human-cell-targeting, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and antipsychotic compounds. Testing showed that around one-quarter of the drugs tested affected the growth of gut bacteria. The scientists are still unsure if this means that the drugs are harmful. The inhibition of bacterial growth could contribute to the drugs’ side effects, or even be “part of the drugs’ beneficial action.”
The scientists also found a connection between bacteria that weren’t affected by the medications and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, possibly showing a connection between the use of non-antibiotic drugs and the increase in antibiotic resistance, which is a major issue.
Nevertheless, this study advances how we think about medications and their effects on our microbiome, and helps us to understand our own bodies better.