Inter-individual heterogeneity in drug response is a serious problem that affects the patient's wellbeing and poses enormous clinical and financial burdens on a societal level. Pharmacogenomics has been at the forefront of research into the impact of individual genetic background on drug response variability or drug toxicity, and recently the gut microbiome, which has also been called the second genome, has been recognized as an important player in this respect. Moreover, the microbiome is a very attractive target for improving drug efficacy and safety due to the opportunities to manipulate its composition. Pharmacomicrobiomics is an emerging field that investigates the interplay of microbiome variation and drugs response and disposition (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion). In this review, we provide a historical overview and examine current state-of-the-art knowledge on the complex interactions between gut microbiome, host and drugs. We argue that combining pharmacogenomics and pharmacomicrobiomics will provide an important foundation for making major advances in personalized medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalProtein & cell
Issue number5
Early online date28-Apr-2018
Publication statusPublished - May-2018

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