When Life Gives You Grapefruits...

Purify their compounds and make super-powerful drugs
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 4:30 PM CST
Grapefruits are packaged and processed for supermarket distribution.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Doctors have known for years that grapefruit juice can boost the effects of some drugs to toxic levels, but they're now purifying the compounds responsible to make weak medicines stronger. Florida researchers have used the extracts to pump up an anti-HIV drug, reports the Wall Street Journal. "This is definitely a lemons to lemonade story," says one scientist.

Compounds in grapefruit juice destroy an enzyme that would otherwise break down drugs before they get into the bloodstream. But doctors warn many patients against taking certain drugs with grapefruit juice, because that increases blood levels so much that taking one dose "is like taking at least 10 tablets with a glass of water," says a pharmacologist. (Read more grapefruit stories.)