Drug-gut microbiota interactions: implications for neuropharmacology

Br J Pharmacol. 2018 Dec;175(24):4415-4429. doi: 10.1111/bph.14366. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


The fate and activity of drugs are frequently dictated not only by the host per se but also by the microorganisms present in the gastrointestinal tract. The gut microbiome is known to, both directly and indirectly, affect drug metabolism. More evidence now hints at the effects that drugs can have on the function and composition of the gut microbiome. Both microbiota-mediated alterations in drug metabolism and drug-mediated alterations in the gut microbiome can have beneficial or detrimental effects on the host. Greater insights into the mechanisms driving these reciprocal drug-gut microbiota interactions are needed to guide the development of microbiome-targeted dietary or pharmacological interventions, which may have the potential to enhance drug efficacy or reduce drug side effects. In this review, we explore the relationship between drugs and the gut microbiome, with a specific focus on potential mechanisms underpinning the drug-mediated alterations on the gut microbiome and the potential implications for psychoactive drugs. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on When Pharmacology Meets the Microbiome: New Targets for Therapeutics? To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v175.24/issuetoc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Neuropharmacology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / chemistry
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology*


  • Psychotropic Drugs