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Juice Story is the Pits

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About six years ago a co-worker asked me if I'd heard the news about grapefruit juice causing inadvertent overdoses when taken with certain medications. She was taking on of the drugs mentioned in the story she'd heard and was curious.

juice.jpgI was familiar with the reports — grapefruit juice was found to interfere with blood pressure medication, though no one had said outright to stop drinking it. Soon, these meds came with advisories on the bottle, and pharmacists were talking to customers. Grapefruit juice sales took a hit, until the industry responded with an updated promotional strategy. But it worked. Sales begin ticking up again.

Now grapefruit has company. The same researcher at Western Ontario University reports that orange and apple juices may block the effectiveness of other prescription pills. A new study found the three types of juice affect a chemotherapy drug, some beta-blocker drugs used to treat high blood pressure, and cyclosporine, taken by transplant patients to prevent organ rejection.

I love fresh juices, and I also take allergy pills. Will this stop me from ingesting one or the other? Heck, no! I just won't take them around the same time. But the fact that the news keeps coming up relating juices to prescription medications is something staff dietitians and store managers should be aware of. This is just the sort of food tidbit that makes it into the consumer news and results in snap, all-or-nothing decisions regarding purchases. Time for the juice industry to go back to the drawing board.

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