Gut microbiota-driven drug metabolism in inflammatory bowel disease

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The gut microbiota plays an important role in the metabolization and modulation of several types of drugs. With this study we aimed to review the literature about microbial drug metabolism of medication prescribed in inflammatory bowel disease practice.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed in Embase and PubMed from inception to October 2019. The search was conducted with predefined MeSH/Emtree and text terms. All studies about drug metabolism by microbiota of medication prescribed in inflammatory bowel disease practice were eligible. A total of 1018 records were encountered and 89 articles were selected for full text reading.

RESULTS: Intestinal bacterial metabolism or modulation is of influence in four specific drugs used in inflammatory bowel disease (mesalazines, methotrexate, glucocorticoids and thioguanine). The gut microbiota cleaves the azo-bond of sulfasalazine, balsalazide and olsalazine and releases the active moiety 5-aminosalicylic acid. It has an impact on the metabolization and potentially on the response of methotrexate therapy. Especially thioguanine can be converted by intestinal bacteria into the pharmacological active 6-thioguanine nucleotides without the requirement of host metabolism. Glucocorticoid compounds can be prone to bacterial degradation.

CONCLUSION: The human intestinal microbiota can have a major impact on drug metabolism and efficacy of medication prescribed in inflammatory bowel disease practice. A better understanding of these interactions between microbiota and drugs is needed and should be an integral part of the drug development pathway of new inflammatory bowel disease medication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Crohn's & colitis
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jul 2020

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