Typical OTC medicine and the Microbiome

Recently I discover a nice study that show how various over the counter medicines alters the microbiome. Taking various ones may help or hinder restoring a dysfunctional microbiome.

The article was published in October 2016 and the full text is available. The chart below show the changes reported. Note that that “None” means no OTC and a healthy person (i.e. what we likely want to strive for)

Later in this article, we have more details on how combinations influences the microbiome. Unfortunately, Abx – antibiotic do not specify which ones.

  • “Medication use in our study was similar to what was found in the Mayo Clinic study using data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project [26].”
  • “Because our study was not experimental in design, we cannot ascertain whether the gut microbiome is a reflection of the medications per se or of the underlying disease that the medications were intended to treat. There is ample evidence that antibiotics will reduce bacterial abundance [27,28] but for some medications (NSAIDs, antidepressants), it is possible that the bacterial composition could partly reflect the underlying condition.”

Bottom Line

I am not going to draw any conclusion as to what to use or avoid. There are too many combination used by CFS patients, so I will have to leave it to the readers to reach their own conclusion. Just consider changing some of them to see if that will cause an improvement.

What I found very interesting is that I recall around 2001 on the Yahoo Group, CFSFMExperimental, that one member claimed to have gone into remission for almost one year by drinking cough syrup everyday.  He then relapsed. There was much speculation as to why.  It is now apparent that he was successfully altering his particular microbiome shift — but failed to re-establish a normal one. The bacteria eventually adapted to the cough syrup.