A key ingredient in common antidepressants could be to blame

New research by the University of Queensland (UQ) has discovered a key ingredient in common antidepressants (such as Prozac) may be causing antibiotic resistance.

The study focused on fluoxetine, a prescription drug primarily used to help people recover from eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

What were the results?

Study lead Dr Jianhua Guo said although the major factor considered to contribute to ‘superbugs’ was overuse or misuse of antibiotics, it was unknown whether non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals could also cause antibiotic resistance.

“Our previous study reported that triclosan, a common ingredient in toothpaste and hand wash can directly induce antibiotic resistance,” Dr Guo said.

“We also wondered whether other non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals such as fluoxetine can directly induce antibiotic resistance.”

What does this discovery mean?

According to Dr Guo, almost 11 per cent of the fluoxetine dose a patient takes remains unchanged and makes its way via urine to sewer systems.

“This discovery provides strong evidence that fluoxetine directly causes multi-antibiotic resistance via genetic mutation,” Dr Guo said.

Though, fellow researcher Dr Min Jin said more research is needed to investigate further.

“Further work is required to investigate effects of fluoxetine on antibiotic resistome in human gut microbiota,” Dr Jin said.

“It has previously been an invisible factor in the spread of antibiotic resistance, but we should consider this a warning.”

Remember to consult with your usual GP for further information on any potential risks before taking antidepressants or antibiotics.