a number of drugs absorb into the body much more easily if taken along with grapefruit juice. Studies are still going on to determine the real cause of this increased absorptivity, so that drugs can be manufactured or modified for them to be more effective.
"Patients who take calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure can triple their blood levels of the drug by taking their pills with grapefruit juice,' said Barbara Ameer, a pharmacology consultant, at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Orlando recently. Ameer has also listed 13 other drugs, including the histamines and terfenidine which show similar effect.
Many more drugs may be added to the list after studies have been carried out on them. There can also be a negative side to this finding wherein a chance of overdose of the drug is anticipated. This aspect has yet to be studied in great detail.
David Bailey, who discovered this phenomenon five years ago in his laboratory at the London Health Sciences Center in Canada feels that an overdose of the drug consumed with grapefruit juice could be the reason why some people had fallen ill or died after taking pills. But this cannot be considered a hurdle and further studies carried out can make drugs safe to be consumed. Another approach would be to discover the true substance in the grapefruit juice and use it as an additive while manufacturing drugs.
This could be a breakthrough in patients who have undergone transplants. A medicine called cyclosporin, responsible for not allowing the body to reject organs, which is pretty expensive can be administered in low doses. There will certainly be a lot of other applications as well which will further increase the importance of grapefruit juice.
Certain things do need further research. What part of the fruit juice is responsible for the easier absorption of drugs? Does the effect vary with such a wide variety of the fruit? These and similar questions will be asked for which convincing answers are needed. Right now the studies are in a very primitive stage and hence it would be too early to prescribe a glass of grapefruit juice with medicines. The negative aspect has to be studied in great detail and many unforeseen things may come to light after that.