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Nature: How Antidepressants Help Bacteria Resist Antibiotics

re: ethics in medicine

The journal Nature used to be the top-tier respectable before COVID (as was BMJ), but maybe this article is credible nonetheless.

Nature: How Antidepressants Help Bacteria Resist Antibiotics


A laboratory study unravels ways non-antibiotic drugs can contribute to drug resistance.

The emergence of disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics is often attributed to the overuse of antibiotics in people and livestock. But researchers have homed in on another potential driver of resistance: antidepressants. By studying bacteria grown in the laboratory, a team has now tracked how antidepressants can trigger drug resistance1.

“Even after a few days exposure, bacteria develop drug resistance, not only against one but multiple antibiotics,” says senior author Jianhua Guo, who works at the Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. This is both interesting and scary, he says.

...Guo’s group and other teams also observed that antidepressants — which are among the most widely prescribed medicines in the world — killed or stunted the growth of certain bacteria. They provoke “an SOS response”, Guo explains, triggering cellular defence mechanisms that, in turn, make the bacteria better able to survive subsequent antibiotic treatment.

In a 2018 paper, the group reported that Escherichia coli became resistant to multiple antibiotics after being exposed to fluoxetine3, which is commonly sold as Prozac. The latest study examined 5 other antidepressants and 13 antibiotics from 6 classes of such drugs and investigated how resistance in E. coli developed.

...But exposure of E. coli to antidepressants also led to an increase in the microbe’s mutation rate, and the subsequent selection of various resistance genes. However, in bacteria grown in anaerobic conditions, levels of reactive oxygen species were much lower and antibiotic resistance developed much more slowly.

Moreover, at least one antidepressant, sertraline, promoted the transfer of genes between bacterial cells, a process that can speed up the spread of resistance through a population. Such transfer can occur between different types of bacterium, allowing resistance to hop between species — including from harmless bacteria to pathogenic ones.


WIND: IMO, 95% of Big Pharma meds are unnecessary, if only people would eat right and exercise.

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