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For Sirolimus Users, a Grapefruit a Day Leaves Less Bills to Pay

For many users of prescription medications, grapefruit is considered one of the strange but undeniably dangerous products that can cause life-threatening interactions. Time and time again, medical gurus have warned patients to beware of the unassuming grapefruit, which is known for magnifying side effects, and even causing toxicity in unsuspecting patients who use calcium channel blocker and cholesterol-lowering medications. However, new results show that grapefruit may have the potential to decrease the dosage of an otherwise toxic medicine known as sirolimus, which is used by cancer patients, and may even help save patients money.

How Do Grapefruit Products Work in the Body?

When ingested, grapefruit accounts for a reaction in the body that blocks important digestive agents called CYP3A4 enzymesgrapefruit and grapefruit drinkWithout these powerful enzymes which are needed to properly breakdown foods and medicines, these products build up in the body. In some cases, consuming grapefruit while taking certain prescription medicines can lead to toxicity and even rhabdomyolysis (a disorder that can cause deterioration of the muscle fibers).

What is Sirolimus?

Sirolimus, also known as rapamycin, is a strong immunosuppressant drug which has shown success in preventing certain incurable cancers from further spreading and attacking other areas of the body. Although this sounds fantastic, patients and doctors have quickly run into problems with this medicine. Patients have been required to take extremely high doses of this drug to achieve any benefit, and as a result have suffered from side effects such as severe diarrhea and painful stomach aches. According to experts, lowering the dosage would reduce side effects but also decrease overall effectiveness.

How Does Grapefruit Affect Sirolimus?

On August 7, the Clinical Cancer Research journal released data confirming that when taken with certain medicines, such as sirolimus, grapefruit and grapefruit juice may be the key to providing drug-users with a satisfied stomach and a healthy wallet. By drinking  8 ounces of grapefruit juice each day, patients using sirolimus may benefit from decreasing their needed dosage of the drug by about 60%, thus reducing the hazardous side effects associated with the medicine.

The only downside to this solution, doctors say, is the fact that it is difficult to accurately prescribe drinking grapefruit juice with sirolimus since different juices contain varying concentrations of grapefruit. Also, grapefruit juice affects each person differently, making it hard to control the process. However, if doctors were able to conduct these types of treatments with precision, grapefruit could be the next answer for helping prevent side effects of these cancer medicines.