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Not just antibiotics can kill gut bacteria

A course of antibiotics clears out many of our gut bacteria, and it can take quite a while until the gut microbiome is fully restored. While this not surprising, it is remarkable how many other drugs can have antibiotic-like effects as well. A group of EMBL investigators tested over 1,000 drugs that are on the market but not sold as antibiotics against 40 representative gut bacterial strains. A quarter of these drugs reduced growth of at least one tested strain in the test tube, and 40 drugs affected 10 strains or more. The meaningfulness of these findings is underscored by broad agreement of the in vitro results with known antibiotic-like side effects of these drugs in human patients. Particularly worrisome is that a number of these drugs may increase the development of antibiotic resistance in patients.

comment written by Detlef Weigel