Continuing to beat the drum on this potentially harmful fact: Both prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications frequently contain the same unwanted additives (including preservatives, antimicrobials, dyes) that consumers are intentionally avoiding in their food. These additives are commonly listed as “inactive” on the drug label–not because these ingredients are actually inactive in the body, but because they are not a part of those ingredients that have a direct effect on whatever symptom the drug is manufactured to treat.
Researchers systematically screened 3,296 excipients contained in the “inactive ingredient” database, and identified 38 excipient molecules that interact with 134 important human enzymes and receptors.
One of the research teams computationally examined excipient molecules that physically resemble the known biological binding partners of 3,117 different human proteins in the public ChEMBL database. The team then computationally pared down 2 million possible interactions of these excipients and human target proteins to 20,000 chemically plausible interactions. Based on visual inspection, the researchers identified a subset of 69 excipients with highest likelihood of interacting with human target proteins, and tested these interactions experimentally in laboratory dishes.