Tag Archives: medication

Can Grapefruit Endanger Your Health?

While grapefruits offer valuable health profits to most of us, including such as vitamins A, B1, C, fiber, potassium and lycopene, they can make quite the dangerous snack choice for people taking certain medications.

How Does Grapefruit Juice Interfere With Medications?

The bitter fruit contains furanocoumarins, which are compounds that block CYP34A enzymes. CYP34A enzymes are responsible for metabolizing certain drugs and toxins in the body. Because grapefruit prevents the body from properly breaking certain drugs down, blood levels of the medications can rise which can lead to a build up of toxins, or increased risk of side effects. For certain medications it can even be a life-threatening ordeal.

Can You Just Space Them Apart?

Not really. You would think you can just take your medicine a different time in the day than you drink your grapefruit juice, but an interaction can still occur. Because of this, you may have to cut out grapefruits completely while you’re taking the particular medication.

Do Other Citrus Foods Cause Interact Too?

According to a registered dietitian who works with the Mayo Clinic, Katherine Zeratsky, some other citrus fruits may possibly interfere with medications as well, such as Seville oranges. It is best to check with your doctor or pharmacist about any possible interactions with new medications.

What Type of Medications Are Affected?

Grapefruit can interact with many different medications. Many of which involve those that help fight infection, reduce blood pressure or cholesterol, prevent organ transplant rejection, gout medication, as well as some analgesics. A few common medications that aren’t compatible with grapefruit include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Warfarin
  • Colchicine
  • Artemether
  • Lipitor
  • Methylprednisolone

Check out RxList for a more complete list of medications that interact with grapefruit.

Do Grapefruits Pose Any Other Potential Health Dangers?

Other potential problems grapefruit may pose to health include:

  • Breast cancer – While the link isn’t fully established, one 2007 study did illustrate a higher risk for breast cancer among postmenopausal women who consumed more grapefruit. Other studies have been inconclusive or saw no increased risk.
  • Skin cancersome studies have illustrated a link between consuming moderate-to-large amounts of grapefruit or orange juice and an increased risk of developing skin cancer. More research is needed to draw a clearer conclusion on this subject.
  • Hormone-related conditions – grapefruit may elevate levels of estrogen in the blood of women taking oral contraceptives, or may interfere with certain conditions involving estrogen production.

The bottom line is to always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are wondering about a potential medication interaction, especially when it comes to this sour fruit! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

Accidental Acetaminophen Overdoses Can be Deadly

Each year poison control receives thousands of calls about accidental acetaminophen overdoses and hospitals see thousands of cases of toxicity and liver failure as a result of these accidents. Acetaminophen is both the most common medication ingredient in the United States as well as the leading cause of acute liver failure (ALF). It is present (sometimes clandestinely) in over 600 medications.

What is Acetaminophen and What is it Used For?

Acetaminophen is a fever and pain reducer that is most widely used in over the counter (OTC) pain reliever medications for minor aches and pains such as headaches, backaches, toothaches, muscle pains or mild arthritis pain.

What Types of Medications Contain Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is commonly overlooked in various types of medications, which leads people to unknowingly overdose if they are taking several different prescription and OTC medications. Aside from its most renown use as a pain reliever in such medications as Tylenol, acetaminophen is also often present in some antihistamines as well as cold decongestants such as Sudafed and Dayquil. But it isn’t just OTC medications you have to watch out for; acetaminophen is also found in certain prescriptions such as Percocet and Vicodin. Always check each ingredient of your OTC and prescription medications before taking multiple ones in the same day.

Acetaminophen and Children

Acetaminophen is the most common cause of liver failure among children, as well as adults. Thousands children are accidentally given too much acetaminophen each year because a caregiver misinterprets the amount on the bottle. While it is considered one of the safest pain relievers to give small children (in specially formulated doses based on body weight), just one tablet or a little too much liquid can blur the line between of safe and dangerous, or even deadly. It is of vital importance to pay attention to exactly how much of the medication (and at what intervals) is appropriate for the age and weight of your child before administering.

A Safe Dose Versus an Unsafe One

The FDA recommends no more than 4 grams of acetaminophen daily for the average adult (weighing greater than 150 pounds), however it is best to take a little as possible especially if you are taking it for several days or more. Even just one more gram than recommended could theoretically cause liver problems or acute liver failure. The CDC has reported nearly 1500 fatalities due to acetaminophen overdoses between the years 2001 and 2010 alone.

What are the Symptoms of ALF?

It may be helpful to know the common symptoms of acute liver failure so you can spot them in the event that someone you know has taken too much acetaminophen. ALF symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Sleepiness
  • Pain in the upper right quadrant of the stomach
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Confusion
  • Malaise
  • Vomiting or nausea

The bottom line is to check the bottle every time. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.


9 Causes of Hair Loss and Thinning

Hair loss and thinning is an extremely common process that can be caused by a variety of factors, or can even be a symptom of a greater condition. Let’s take a look at some underlying causes of hair loss and thinning:

  1. Alopecia areata – is an autoimmune process whereby the body attacks its own hair follicles in small round patches.
  2. AndrogeneticAlopecia – also known as male pattern baldness, is the leading cause of baldness in men. It is caused by a few converging factors including age, genetics and a sensitivity to testosterone.
  3. Vitamin deficiency – certain deficiencies such as vitamin D can cause such symptoms as insomnia, fatigue, depression and hair loss or thinning.
  4. Genetic predisposition – many cases of hair thinning such as male pattern or other types of alopecia are strongly influenced by genetics.
  5. Thyroid condition – hypothyroidism can cause hair loss among many other symptoms until it is corrected by the proper synthetic replacement or medication.
  6. Lupus – one of the characteristic symptoms of lupus is hair loss and thinning, sometimes caused by the disease itself and sometimes caused by the medications taken to control it.
  7. Hormonal causes – Hormonal events such as pregnancy or menopause can cause temporary or permanent hair loss and thinning. Testosterone plays a key role in male baldness as well.
  8. Skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema or certain skin infections can also affect the hair.
  9. Medication or medical treatment – some medications known to cause hair thinning include: corticosteroids, beta blockers, anticoagulants, hormone therapy, certain vitamin supplements, cancer medications and antidepressants, just to name a few.

These are a just few of the many causes of hair loss and thinning, thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll be back again soon.


Can Proton Pump Inhibitors Damage Your Kidneys?

Millions of Americans suffer from stomach afflictions such as gastric ulcers, GERD or heartburn and wind up taking proton pump inhibitors to help ease the burn. Unfortunately, science is noticing these meds may lead to different kinds of health trouble down the line.

What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of medication used in the treatment of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers. They work by changing the cells of the lining your stomach to reduce or stop the production of stomach acid. While PPIs can be very helpful in treating the troublesome symptoms of heartburn and ulcers, they can cause other unwanted side effects.

The Trouble With PPIs

A recent study spanning 5 years looked at a group of more than 173,000 PPI users as compared with a group of 20,000 users of a different type of stomach medication, H2 receptor antagonists to examine the prevalence of kidney damage. The study deduced a 28% higher risk of chronic kidney disease and 96% higher risk of kidney failure in the PPI group than the H2 blocker group.

So What Does That Mean For Those Who Take PPIs?

Its not to say you should never use PPIs, they are fine for most people as a short-term solution to decrease stomach acid, and if your doctor believes the benefits outweigh the risks in your case you can decide together how to proceed. However, other studies have also backed up this growing concern, leading to the medical consensus that PPIs should be taken for short durations and not relied upon for years of continuous use. Even using PPIs for a couple months can theoretically cause kidney damage in some people. It is important to spread these findings because PPIs are used by millions of people and are even available over the counter.

Alternative Treatments For GERD

Fortunately, renal function seems to improve when many patients stop using PPIs, but not in all cases. So if you have GERD and have been relying heavily on PPIs, it may be time to switch up your meds. PPIs are not the only course of action for GERD and heartburn sufferers. Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, also known H2 blockers are another common method of treatment for GERD sufferers, some people also rely on antacids or in some cases even esophageal sphincter strengthening medications. So all in all, there are other options than long term PPI use.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope this information has helped you or a loved one! If you have any questions about GERD treatment options or PPI use feel free to sign up today to start your video consultation with one of our highly qualified, board certified physicians!