Health

Fruit Juice and Pills

Do you ever wash down your daily dose of prescription drugs with a glass of juice? It may be a very bad idea. A leading Canadian researcher is warning people about taking medication with orange or apple juice – nearly 20 years after his earlier caution about grapefruit juice prompted sticker warnings on drug vials.

David Bailey and his colleagues report that grapefruit juice – as well as orange and apple juice – appear to substantially lower the absorption of certain drugs, including some 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.

Bailey stunned the medical world in 1991 by showing that grapefruit juice can boost the amount of certain drugs absorbed into the bloodstream two- to three-fold, turning normal doses into potentially toxic overdoses. Today, nearly 50 drugs carry labels warning about the so-called Grapefruit Juice Effect.

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