Medications That Can Negatively Affect Your Gut and Long-Term Health

Your gut biome plays an important part in many mental and physical health aspects. Also referred to as microbiome, gut biome refers to microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that live in the digestive tract. There are millions of these organisms, which many refer to as healthy bacteria, in the gut at any one time, and they play a large role in overall health.

When there is an imbalance of organisms, or when there is a larger population of bad bacteria than good ones, a range of health issues can arise. These include inflammatory bowel syndrome, SIBO, allergies, cancer, autoimmune diseases, weight issues, and depression. Many things can negatively affect the delicate balance of the gut biome, and certain types of medications are one cause.


Antibiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, they do not discriminate against certain types of bacteria, also using them results in the killing of all bacteria, including the good ones that keep the gut in good health. Sometimes an unbalanced biome lasts for weeks. People who take antibiotics more frequently may have chronic low levels of healthy bacteria. Some types of antibiotics, such as clarithromycin and doxycycline, are worse than others.


When there are issues regarding the gut, such as an imbalanced biome, there are often accompanying digestive symptoms. One of them is constipation, and laxatives are frequently taken to help things get moving. Unfortunately, laxative use, especially chronic use, reduces the good bacteria and disrupts the gut’s protection from bad bacteria.

Diabetes Medication

Diabetic medications affect not only the makeup of the gut’s microorganisms, but also their function. One medication in particular, metformin, increases the number of E. Coli in the digestive tract. Although these bacteria have a normal function in the gut in ideal conditions, the use of metformin often causes the bacteria to provoke disease and GI symptoms. That explains why common side effects of the drug include cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the number one over-the-counter pain killer. Millions of people consume at least one on a daily basis, which has long-term health consequences. Although they may help reduce pain, they also disrupt the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

PPIs are commonly prescribed for heartburn, as they help reduce acid in the stomach. One of the many purposes of this acid is to protect the body from pathogens, and a decrease in stomach acid results in an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the upper GI tract.


One class of antidepressants that is commonly prescribed is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Because a large percentage of serotonin is produced in the gut, SSRIs cause significant imbalances in the gut biome.

There is a time and place for some medications; however, their overuse and misuse are causing havoc to your gut. The natural healthcare professionals at Holistic Vitality Center find the root causes of symptoms and work on treating them at that level. As a result, the need for gut-ruining medication is drastically reduced, which results in better long-term health. Contact us online or call (919) 848-3333 today to find out how we can help with your health issues.

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