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Posted: September 03, 2008

Orange, Apple Added to Dangerous Juice List with Some Meds


Consumers have long been warned about the ill effects of drinking grapefruit juice while taking certain medications, and now the researcher who made the original connection says other juices are just as bad.


David Bailey, a professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, says other popular juices, including orange and apple juice, may interact unfavorably by preventing the body from properly absorbing certain drugs. The result can be less effectiveness of the meds, he told the recent American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting in Philadelphia.


It’s been 20 years since Bailey discovered that grapefruit juice compromised the effectiveness of some prescription drugs by boosting the amount of medication that enters a patient’s bloodstream – the opposite effect of his latest, expanded finding. The original grapefruit finding was especially important for users of medications that treat high blood pressure because the juice was found to pump up the body's blood levels of the calcium channel blocker felodipine (branded Plendil).


Bailey’s discovery of the adverse reaction was followed by other researchers turning up more medications affected by grapefruit juice. Today, grapefruit juice is off-limits for people who are being treated for high cholesterol and heart rhythm problems, in addition to blood pressure issues.


In his report to the ACS, Bailey said apple, orange and even grapefruit juice lower the body’s ability to absorb these drugs: the anti-cancer drugs etoposide (branded Etopophos and Vepesid); certain beta blockers including tenormin (Atenolol) and talinolol (Cordanum), which are used to treat high blood pressure and guard against heart attacks; cyclosporine, which is used to prevent organ transplant rejection; and some antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), and itraconazole (Sporanox).


Interestingly, Bailey also told the medical audience that healthy test participants who drank grapefruit juice along while ingesting the allergy drug fexofenadine (branded Allegra) actually absorbed only half of the drug, while those who took the pill with water experienced no similar outcome.


Bailey added: "We don't (yet) know all the drugs affected.”

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