Predicting and Understanding the Human Microbiome's Impact on Pharmacology

Reese Hitchings, Libusha Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Our bodies each possess a unique and dynamic collection of microbes and viruses, collectively the ‘microbiome’, with distinct metabolic capacities from our human cells. Unforeseen modification of drugs by the microbiome can drastically alter their clinical effectiveness, with the most dramatic cases leading to fatal drug interactions. Pharmaceuticals can be activated, deactivated, toxified, or release metabolites that alter the ‘canonical’ pharmacokinetics of the drug. Thus, predicting and characterizing microbe–drug interactions is necessary to develop and implement personalized drug administration protocols and, more broadly, to improve drug safety and efficacy. In this review, we focus on microbiome-driven alterations to drug pharmacokinetics and provide a research framework for pharmacologists interested in characterizing microbiome interactions with any drug of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-505
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • microbiome
  • pharmacodynamics
  • pharmacology
  • xenobiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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