Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Grave grapefruit

I was interested in this article that appeared on the bbc website this week about the dangers of mixing grapefruits and medication. My interest wasn't because this was news to me - it's a standard part of our training to learn about drug food interactions - what was interesting about it is that doctors have warned of a "lack of knowledge" around this.

Surely where there's a danger around mixing the two doctors should be warning patients about this, so there's no unpleasant surprise if they mix the two.

And the surprise my indeed be unpleasant. Grapefruit can cause overdoses of some drugs by stopping the medicines being broken down in the intestines and the liver. According to the article some drugs became five to ten times more potent when taken with one glass of grapefruit!

There are 43 drugs where grapefruit may have this effect including drugs for blood pressure, cancer, statins and drugs taken to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant. If you're concerned about such an interaction with your medication check with your GP.

But there's no need to worry excessively - there's some good news in that part of their effect means that grapefruit can be used to upregulate the first part of the detoxification pathway, so can be used as part of a detox regime for anyone not on medication.

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