Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Taking pills? Avoid the juice

From the Calgary Herald:
A leading Canadian researcher is warning people about taking their daily dose of prescription pills with orange or apple juice - nearly 20 years after his earlier caution about grapefruit juice prompted sticker warnings on drug vials.

David Bailey and colleagues announced to a startled - and skeptical - medical world in 1991 that grapefruit juice can boost the amount of certain drugs absorbed into the bloodstream two- to threefold, turning normal doses into potentially toxic overdoses. Today, nearly 50 drugs carry labels warning about the so-called Grapefruit Juice Effect.

Now, in another surprise discovery, Bailey is reporting that grapefruit juice - as well as orange and apple juice - also appears to do the opposite by substantially lowering the absorption of certain other drugs, including certain antibiotics and drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease.

Chemicals in the fruit juices appear to turn off a pump that normally helps get drugs out of the gut and into the body. The concern is that drugs essential for treating serious medical conditions might lose their benefit. ...more

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