How antidepressants affect intestinal microflora

13.04.2020 Medicine
How antidepressants affect intestinal microflora

Consequences of Overgrowth Syndrome (SIBR)

SIBR leads to intestinal dysfunction. This is manifested by the following symptoms:

  • flatulence,
  • abdominal pain,
  • diarrhea,
  • nausea.

In a difficult process, there are signs of impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Causes of the development of SIBR

SIBR is a polyetiological pathology. This means that a huge number of the most diverse causes lead to the development of this syndrome. Many of them affect the intestines at the same time. One of the main groups of causes is the factors that lead to inhibition of intestinal motility. They slow down peristalsis and slow down the evacuation of contents. Food that remains in the intestines for a long time becomes a nutrient substrate for bacteria, which contributes to their excessive growth.

Consequences of taking antidepressants

Against the background of long-term use of tricyclic antidepressants the occurrence of hypokinesis (decreased mobility) of the intestine. They inhibit the function of smooth muscles. The following side effects are indicated in the instructions for use with most tricyclic antidepressants:

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  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • heartburn,
  • impaired appetite,
  • abdominal discomfort,
  • abdominal pain.


These drugs are contraindicated in some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, because they negatively affect peristalsis. This action is realized due to the ability of these drugs to block m-cholinergic receptors. Prokinetics (e.g., Itomed), which stimulate motility, or antispasmodics (e.g., Nose-pa), which relieve excess bowel contractions, will help reduce these side effects to some extent. Medicines based on rebapmipid (for example, rebagit) can have a general regenerative effect on the intestine by improving the condition of the mucous membrane itself and restoring intestinal nutrition.

How can I avoid serious consequences?

It is better to abandon tricyclic antidepressants in the presence of chronic diseases of the digestive system (including liver and pancreas diseases). Ask your doctor to prescribe drugs of a different pharmacological group in order to avoid problems from the intestines.

Take care of the intestines

Sergey Vyalov is a gastroenterologist at GMS Clinic, Ph.D. Member of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the Russian Gastroenterological Association (RGA), a member of the European Society for the Study of the Liver (EASL), a member of the Russian Society for the Study of the Liver (ROPIP). Trained and worked at the Charite Clinic (Germany).


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