Exposure to prescribed medication in early life and impacts on gut microbiota and disease development

Author: Huan Huang1,2, Jiayin Jiang1, Xinyu Wang1, Kui Jiang1, Hailong Cao1
1 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, General Hospital, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin Institute of Digestive Diseases, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Digestive Diseases, Tianjin, China.
2 Department of Gastroenterology, the Affiliated Jinyang Hospital of Guizhou Medical University, the Second People's Hospital of Guiyang, Guiyang, China.
Conference/Journal: EClinicalMedicine
Date published: 2024 Jan 23
Other: Volume ID: 68 , Pages: 102428 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2024.102428. , Word Count: 182

The gut microbiota during early life plays a crucial role in infant development. This microbial-host interaction is also essential for metabolism, immunity, and overall human health in later life. Early-life pharmaceutical exposure, mainly referring to exposure during pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy, may change the structure and function of gut microbiota and affect later human health. In this Review, we describe how healthy gut microbiota is established in early life. We summarise the commonly prescribed medications during early life, including antibiotics, acid suppressant medications and other medications such as antidepressants, analgesics and steroid hormones, and discuss how these medication-induced changes in gut microbiota are involved in the pathological process of diseases, including infections, inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic diseases, allergic diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. Finally, we review some critical methods such as dietary therapy, probiotics, prebiotics, faecal microbiota transplantation, genetically engineered phages, and vagus nerve stimulation in early life, aiming to provide a new strategy for the prevention of adverse health outcomes caused by prescribed medications exposure in early life.

Keywords: Early life; Gut microbiota; Health outcomes; Medications.

PMID: 38312240 PMCID: PMC10835216 DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2024.102428