Grapefruit and drugs

Grapefruit and drugs

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Many of the drugs that are usually prescribed and essential for the treatment of common medical conditions interact adversely with grapefruit, grapefruit juice and some other citrus fruits, causing unpleasant side effects. Over 80 drugs are known to interact with grapefruit of which 43 types of prescription medication could cause serious side effects. Grapefruits contain furanocoumarins, a group of chemicals that can affect drug metabolism by inhibiting an enzyme in the intestine which breaks down drugs, thus increasing the time it takes for a drug to be broken down by the body. This has the effect of increasing the effective amount of the drug in the body several times above the level of the intended dose. The affected drugs include those for treating cancers, high cholesterol, heart and blood vessel conditions etc.

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Keywords: blood, cancer, chemicals, cholesterol, citrus, cytochrome p450, dose, drugs, enzyme, furanocoumarins, grapefuit, heart, hypertension, inhibition, interact, intestine, medicine, metabolism, prescription, pressure

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