Grapefruit juice improves the efficacy of anticancer drugs

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical School found that grapefruit juice combined with anticancer drugs is more effective than three doses of similar anticancer drugs. It also helps patients avoid side effects associated with high-dose anticancer drugs and reduces medical expenses.

Grapefruit juice is believed to organize certain enzymes in the gut (these enzymes break down certain drugs), allowing more drugs to enter the bloodstream. Therefore, doctors often advise patients not to eat grapefruit when taking certain drugs. Failure to do so may result in serious side effects or overdose.

Dr. Isla Cohen, head of the new study, said that grapefruit can significantly increase the level of many drugs in the blood. This has long been considered a major risk of overdose. The new study aims to explore the feasibility of using grapefruit juice to improve the efficacy of sirolimus. This drug, also known as rapamycin, is a drug that prevents rejection of organ transplants and is also an anticancer drug.

The latest research shows that patients who drink 8 ounces of grapefruit juice a day can increase the efficacy of sirolimus by 350%. Ketoconazole slows the rate of drug metabolism and increases sirolimus by 500%. Scientists say that after a few hours of grapefruit juice, its effects on intestinal enzymes begin to play, and the effect lasts for several days.

Dr. Cohen and colleagues organized three simultaneous sirolimus trials. 138 incurable cancer patients received three treatments: sirolimus, sirolimus + ketoconazole, sirolimus + grapefruit juice.

The optimal dose to receive sirolimus is approximately 90 mg per week. However, doses above 45 mg can cause severe gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and diarrhea, so patients taking sirolimus alone should be given 45 mg twice a week. The optimal drug dose for the other two groups was relatively lower. Patients in the “sirolimus + ketoconazole” group only need to take 16 mg of sirolimus per week. Patients in the “Sirolimus + Grapefruit Juice” group need to take 25-35 mg of sirolimus per week.

Experts caution that you must carefully read the warnings about adverse side effects of drugs and specific foods before taking drugs to prevent accidents. When the situation is unknown, you should ask the doctor.