Antibiotics linked to increased risk of opioid abuse

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Taking antibiotics alongside opioids may increase the risk of opioid abuse, according to research in rats recently published in eNeuro.

Antibiotics linked to increased risk of opioid abuse

Opioid abuse and addiction plague over 2 million Americans. Many factors play a role in the opioid crisis, but one may have a larger role than previously thought: the gut microbiome. The world of bacteria in the gut influences brain health and plays a role in a slew of brain disorders, including addiction.  

After surgery, doctors typically prescribe both opioids and antibiotics to treat pain while fighting off infection. This strategy also kills bacteria in the microbiome. Simpson et al. decided to explore the relationship of the two drugs given the prevalence of the combination.

The team administered antibiotics to rats for two weeks, depleting their gut microbiome, and then gave them the opioid oxycodone. Compared to rats that only received oxycodone, the microbiome-depleted rats displayed profound changes in how their brains responded to opioids. The rats showed altered opioid sensitivity in brain areas implicated in addiction: the depleted microbiome exacerbated the effects of intoxication and weakened the effects of withdrawal.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Study reveals deadly bacteria's attraction to human blood