Grapefruit – Is There a Problem?

Grapefruit and medication, itp medications, Side Effects Prednisone

Grapefruit? What’s the Problem?

The other day I found myself with a grapefruit in my hand and an old wives tale in my head.  I don’t know why it came to me, but something was telling me not to eat the Grapefruit; something about grapefruit making the pill not work, like St John’s wort?

Then I doubted myself.  How can a grapefruit be an evil kind of citrus when all the rest are fine?

What was I going to do with the Grapefruit tree in my back yard, plumb and ladened with the most burdensome of citrus?  I started to ask a few friends if they had heard of this medication mixing myth.

I Started to Hear Conflicting Stories –

  • A friend of mine told me her mother could not drink Grapefruit juice while she was being treated for Breast Cancer – Apparently the nurses where quite insistent.
  • Another friend told me to eat plenty of Grapefruit as it is listed as a great food to eat on the alkaline diet, with mangos, limes, lemons and papaya.
  • ‘Grapefruits?  Oh yes, you should eat one every day – Very good for the fat burning’ they told me.
  • ‘Grapefruit? Oh no! Stay away from that one.

My current contraceptive pill warns me to stay away from St John’s Wart, but there is not mention of Grapefruit on the instructions –

Is it just an old wives tale?

Treatment for itp, treatment of itp, treatment itp, itp treatments, Side Effects Prednisone,
Related Search Results for Grapefruit.

I decided to find out weather or not the humble fat busting little sour drum could really cause that much damage.  I had to do some research.

I googled ‘Grapefruit and Medications’ Wow!

There is a lot of information out there to confirm that Grapefruits do in fact effect a lot of prescription medications.

 

‘Today, more than 30 commonly prescribed drugs carry a warning against mixing their use and grapefruits or grapefruit juice. This is not innocuous, because so many Americans have grapefruit for breakfast at a time when they also take their medications.'(1)

Here is the confusing part – Grapefruits do not interact with every drug.  

But WHY?

Reactions between Grapefruit and prescription drugs was first documented in 1989 by a Canadian Medical Scientist,who discovered that when he took felodipine with grapefruit juice his blood-concentration of the drug was four times as high as it should have been. In other words, a standard dose combined with grapefruit juice was four times as potent as it was without grapefruit juice. (2)

‘Grapefruit juice blocks special enzymes in the wall of the small intestine that actually destroys many medications and prevents their absorption into the body. Thus, smaller amounts of the drugs get into the body than are ingested. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, more of the drugs get into the body and the blood levels of these medications increase. This can lead to toxic side effects from the medications.’ (3)

What I found was that grapefruits seem to have the most disastrous effects on the drugs that people would probably keep quite private.  Drugs and medications used to treat mental health are the most susceptible to the enzyme dissolving grapefruit juice.  You just never know what people are taking…

CitruaJust Grapefruit?

What about other citrus?

Well it looks like it is just Grapefruits.  There is an emzyme in grapefruits that are not found in any other fruit at all.  Weird.  but true.

The truth is that Grapefruits might not have any effect on the medications and drug you are taking – But really? they aren’t that nice.  I am going to just steer clear I think.

 

 Other Medication-Effecting Foods

While researching I found this list that outlines others foods that may also effect medication and prescription drugs – Please note that this is only a small sample of medication-effecting foods and should not be taken as the only risk.

Grapefruit juice: Some statin drugs to lower cholesterol, such as simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), and pravastatin (Pravachol); some blood pressure-lowering drugs, such as Nifediac and Afeditab ; some organ transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine); some anti-anxiety drugs, such as BuSpar (buspirone); some anti-arrhythmia drugs, such as Cordarone and Nexterone (both amiodarone); some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine); the anti-malaria drugs Quinerva or Quinite (quinine); and Halcion (triazolam), a medication used to treat insomnia.

Licorice: The sweetening compound glycyrrhizin in black licorice may reduce the effects of some blood pressure drugs or urine-producing drugs including Hydrodiuril (hydrochlorothiazide) and Aldactone (spironolactone). It may increase the toxicity risks from Lanoxin (digoxin), used to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

Chocolate: Antidepressant Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (such as phenelzine (Nardil, Nardelzine) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) are just one category of drugs that shouldn’t be consumed with excessive amounts of chocolate and other caffeinated foods. Caffeine can also interact with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin (methylphenidate), increasing their effect, or by decreasing the effect of sedative-hypnotics such as Ambien (zolpidem). Using bronchodilators with caffeinated foods and drinks can increase the chance of side effects, such as excitability, nervousness, and rapid heart beat.

Potassium-rich foods (such as bananas, oranges, and green leafy vegetables): Can add to high potassium levels in the body caused by ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors including captopril (Capoten) and enalapril (Vasotec) prescribed to lower blood pressure or treat heart failure. Too much potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): Can reduce concentrations of medications in the blood, including digoxin (Lanoxin), used to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms; the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin (Mevacor and Altocor), and the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra).

Vitamin E: Taken with a blood-thinning medication such as warfarin (Coumadin) can increase anti-clotting activity and may cause an increased risk of bleeding.

Ginseng: May increase the risk of bleeding when taken with anticoagulants (blood thinners such as warfarin and heparin). Can also increase the bleeding effects of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen. Combined with MAO inhibitors such as Nardil or Parnate may cause headache, trouble sleeping, nervousness and hyperactivity.

Ginkgo biloba: High doses can decrease the effectiveness of anticonvulsant therapy in patients taking seizure-control medicines Tegretol, Equetro or Carbatrol (carbamazepine), and Depakote (valproic acid). (4)

 

References

Grapefruit and Prescription Drugs: Mix Carefully – By Mark Bloom HealthDay Reporter, (1)(2) 

Grapefruit Juice Can Interact With Medicines! – Original Medical Author: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD, (3)

Grapefruit not only food that can Effect Medication – Michelle Healy, USA TODAY (4)

Travel Insurance for people with ITP

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Can I get Travel Insurance if I have ITP?

While planning an overseas trip, I became confused about what my options where for travel insurance.  Can I get travel insurance while I have ITP?

I tried to read through the dense documentation on the insurance website, but that just made me more confused.  There was no information within the documentation about problems with a low platelet count, however, the insurance company seemed to be very concerned about my taking of immune suppressants.

My understanding was that I would not be insured for anything while traveling – Not because I had ITP but because I was taking immune suppressing steroids.

With that reasoning, I could jus stop taking my medication.  I could get travel insurance if I was not being medicated?  Sounds stupid! I am safer on the drugs (apparently)  Should I cancel my trip?

I called the insurance company and spoke to a real person about everything that was confusing me.  I learnt that with my insurance company ‘Teachers Health’, and many others, I would be covered for things such as accidents, car crashes and trees falling on my head.  I would be covered if my bag was stolen or I was mugged in the street.

I would not be covered for any medical expenses directly attributed to having ITP.  It was amazing to just call the company and explain yourself.  It was wonderful to have a real person explain all the details back to me.

‘Will I be covered for a broken leg, even if having ITP will make my broken legs a life threatening injury?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘Will I be covered for replacement medication if my bags are stolen, even if I only need to have the medication because I have ITP in the first place?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘Will I be covered for spontaneous internal bleeding for no apparent reason?’

No.

The most important thing, he said, was that I was telling the insurance company about my medical condition before I left.  I was registering with them that I had ITP.  He said that if I were to lie about having ITP, then my whole insurance policy would be void.

That means – If I did not tell my insurance company I had ITP before I left and I traveled to Indonesia and had my bag stolen with all my money, passport and identification – Boom – Void!!  I would have received nothing!  Cause I was a liar, and they hate liars.

Will my Medication be Covered while I Travel?

I was surprised and pleased to find out that any medication I needed to take on the trip would be covered by my insurance because it falls under the category of luggage/personal items/possessions.  So if I loose my script or my pills while I am over seas, my travel insurance will cover the cost to replace it in whichever country I am in.  Wonderful.

The best advice when looking for travel insurance that I can give, is to call them and talk to a person.  Offer each insurance company a few examples of potential problems and see what they say.  Since booking my trip, I have had great coverage and service from the Teachers Health Insurance Provider.

Has anyone had more  luck with Travel Insurance from Australia?

Keep reading about TRAVELING WITH ITP.  If you are super worried then you should read about how to manage FEAR WHILE TRAVELING with ITP.

 

Paleo Week 3; Do I deserve a reward?

the paleo diet, itp, pasta

For the past two weeks I have not craved sugar or salt.  I have been eating such clean, nutrient rich foods that I find myself forgetting about salt and sugars.  With gluggy carbs on my plate I no longer need huge amounts of water to digest it, and then salt to make the carbs edible and replace the salts I lost trying to digest it.

Which is why I was blown away in my third week of eating Paleo, when I found myself dreaming of a giant bowl of pasta.  I want it – Wanted it!  I thought I deserved a reward for how well I had done.  I thought that I wanted to eat a giant bowl of pasta. Continue reading

Lymphatic Drainage; Moving the moon face?

Prednisone, itp, beauty, treatment, symptoms

One of the worst side effects from taking Prednisone every day is the fact that slowly over time, your face will become round and puffy and slightly dumb looking.  I unfortunately have this exact face.  Starting with the round face I got from my mother, it has gotten considerably worse in the last year two years.  I had heard the words ‘lymphatic drainage’ being used in different circles, but always thought of it more as an indulgence than a beauty remedy.  After a little investigation I started to think that perhaps there is something here for itp sufferers, not just as a means to move the moon face, but also as a flushing out of the lymph System that functions with the spleen

 I felt like I had been tricked . . .

1. So how many of you really knew that your Spleen is part of your lymph system?  Not me.

2. How many people have been told that there Spleen is playing a huge part in their ITP? Me, I was.

3. Could Lymphatic Drainage be more than just a short term beauty therapy?Prednisone, itp, beauty, treatment, symptoms

Because of the changes in my salt retention due to taking Prednisone, I knew that more fluid was being stored on my body.  So perhaps Lymphatic drainage is the answer?  I decided to head down to Ella Bache and check out what this whole thing was all about.  $80 later I am  little confused.

Firstly, I did not notice any aesthetic, physical or emotions changes after my first treatment.  In fact I would go so far as to say I felt worse ( And not in a toxins flushing, about to feel healthy kind of way)  I felt like I had been tricked into getting a really long massage by a woman who had lazy hands and did not want to touch my face, who then charged me twice as much as a massage could cost – But the whole thing wasn’t covered by my health insurance because it is not even classed as medicine.

Overall I still think that eating well, drinking plenty of water and doing regular exercise is the key to looking good.  I am, however keen to hear of anyone that has been using it in relation to their ITP.  I am willing to experiment with more visits if there is a for a good reason.  Any suggestions?  Should I go back?