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Is grapefruit juice safe with your allergy, asthma or cold medications? It pays to be informed about potential interaction because grapefruit and other juices can be a dangerous mix with certain drugs.
Four out of five U.S. adults take at least one medication a week, according to a survey. More than 25 percent of adults take at least five medications.
Juices, including grapefruit, orange and even apple, may either blunt the effect of your medications or heighten their potency. Either scenario spells potential problems. Having too little of a medication means you get no benefit from costly medications. Having too much in your blood could result in serious side effects.
Your best bet is to take your medications with water unless you are certain there is no potential interaction with juice. In some cases, prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications come with a warning not to drink juice within in a certain time frame.
Recently, my son purchased Zicam, an OTC cold remedy. He was ready to take it with orange juice when he noticed the warning on the label. In Zicamís case, juice would have wiped out the medicationís benefit.
Allegra is another example of grapefruit-medication interaction. I took Allegra for several years without being informed about juice interaction. Fortunately, I am not a juice drinker.
More than 50 drugs, including some for allergies, asthma, colds, coughs and pain, were originally identified to interact with grapefruit juice. Since then, dozens more have been identified.
The lesson here is to be well informed about your medications. You can avoid problems with grapefruit or other juices by questioning your healthcare provider or pharmacist about interactions. Read labels thoroughly for OTC medications. For prescriptions, read carefully the patient information sheet included with your medication. If you are unsure about interactions, make a list of your medications and review it with your pharmacist or healthcare provider.
Juice also may interact with medications for abnormal heart rhythm, anxiety, blood clots, cancer, depression, epilepsy, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormonal conditions and infections (both bacterial and fungal).
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