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The microbes that live in people’s guts may be able to break down hundreds of drugs, according to a new paper published Monday in Nature.

Researchers at Yale looked at how hundreds of prescription medicines interacted with about 70 strains of bacteria that they selected because they represented a range of those found in the human gut. They found that for about two-thirds of the drugs, the presence of the bacteria decreased the level of the medicine in a culture.


The paper is one of the latest and largest analyses of how the gut microbiome may impact a drug’s strength and its potential side effects — though experts cautioned that many questions about how this issue might impact human health are still unanswered.

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