Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grapefruit Juice

by sarah, This post originally appeared at Dear World..., Sincerely Science

This news came out a while ago, but it fascinates me so much that I decided to write about it anyways. The world of science has known for many years that grapefruit juice can boost drug absorption because of its ability to inhibit digestive enzymes. In fact many people taking certain medications have been told to avoid eating or drinking grapefruit because it could cause a potentially deadly overdose.
But what if doctors used grapefruit juice with drugs to make them more effective so a patient would have to take less of them?
A recent study at the University of Chicago Medicine led by Dr. Ezra Cohen tested the effects of cancer patients with no known effective therapies for their cancer taking a drug called sirolimus. Although no patient had a complete response, meaning the cancer went away entirely, 30% of patients had a stable period with no further progression of the disease, and one patient had significant shrinkage of their tumor.
The study also was testing another type of drug metabolism called ketoconazole which had slighter higher drug-boosting effects, however grapefruit has a big advantage because it is non-toxic, has no side effects and there is no risk of overdose.
So what does this mean?
Well, different people produce different amounts of enzymes that break down certain drugs so the effects of the grapefruit juice can vary however with a simple enzyme test, the levels of enzymes could be determined for a person.
And if grapefruit juice works for this one specific drug, maybe it will also work for more.
Using grapefruit juice many not only make a medication more effective, because it is more effective then patients may also be able to take lower doses of it, thus also reducing the side effects from the medication, the cost and if it is an infused drug, the time they need to spend receiving it.
Grapefruit juice’s use in medicine is still quite new, but with more research and clinical trials, it may very well be coming soon to a hospital near you.
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About this contributor: Sarah is a high school student who enjoys all aspects of science, but particularly medical and health science. She also plays the violin, play on a competitive softball team and she LOVES to read. 

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