Espedilla: Some meds work with others, but not on her

Dear Dr. Fritz,

GOOD day to you. I am Amy Tabha. I do have a question which had me puzzled for some time now. I have migraine. My friend have migraine, too. Ibuprofen works for her, but not with me.

Tramadol only works for me. I wonder why is it that Ibuprofen works for her, but not with me and why some medicines would work with my friend, but not with me?

I do hope to hear from you soon. Thanks a lot.

Amy Tabha


Dear Amy Tabha,

In your case, the answer might be in your gut. In a recent study at Yale University where 271 drugs are chemically modified by 76 kinds of gut bacteria, the researchers were able to pinpoint gut bacteria that process more than 150 medicines and also identified the genes that give the bacteria this ability. Thus, the findings reveal the role of bacteria in the gut on how well people would respond to medicines.

The study co-lead author Maria Zimmermann-Kogadeeva said that "The work is a first step in identifying biomarkers that could help doctors prescribe the drugs that are the safest and most effective for individual patients."

Moreover, the team were also able to find wide variations in the number of these genes in healthy people. And in some cases, the study showed that the differences explain why some people's microbes or gut bacteria would metabolize drugs rapidly, while others act on the same drugs slowly or not at all.

Furthermore, I believe that the genes do play a lot in these differences. In the meantime, don’t keep on pondering what you don’t get or why some drugs are not effective with you, but works well with others. Just accept, embrace, and celebrate that difference.

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, “Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz.” She is the program host of Secrets with Dr. Fritz over . For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o Sunstar-Davao Publishing Inc., Ebro-Pelayo Building, Jacinto St., Davao City, (former Department of Foreign Affairs office), across Ateneo de Davao University and beside Holy Child School of Davao, or you e-mail them to If you don’t wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)


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