Medicine and juice a bad mix?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions, In The News

Having a sick child is no fun for anyone and we all try to avoid it as best we can. For me, not wanting my 7-year-old to get sick is more than about not wanting her to feel bad and maybe miss a day or two of school. It's the medicine. Getting meds down her throat is almost as difficult as bathing the cat. But with the cat, I can at least employ some brute force to get it done. With Ellie, I have a more subtle bag of tricks involving child psychology, bribes and usually something sweet to help wash it down. That something sweet is often juice, which according to new research, might not actually be the best way to help the medicine go down.

Grapefruit juice has long been known to interact with some drugs in a way that can cause blood concentration of the medication to reach toxic levels. But a new study has found that grapefruit and other fruit juices may also block the effects of some drugs. In the study, which was conducted with adult patients, grapefruit, orange and apple juices were found to reduce the absorption of the anticancer drug etoposide; certain beta blockers; cyclosporine, which is used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs; and some antibiotics.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," says Dr. David G. Bailey, a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Ontario. "I'm sure we'll find more and more drugs that are affected this way."

Dr. Bailey recommends taking most medications with water and advises patients to consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications with grapefruit or other juices.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.