Friday, May 30, 2014

Grapefruit Can Be A Problem

Did you know that eating one whole grapefruit or drinking about 6 ounces of juice can alter the efficacy of many prescribed medications. This includes such favorites as cholesterol-lowering statins, anti-histamines,antidepressants, calcium channel blockers and some HIV drugs. This interaction was first reported 20 years ago and currently about 85 drugs are potentially affected.

The problem with grapefruit, as well as Seville oranges, pomelos and limes, is that some substances found in the juice inhibit an enzyme found in the intestines and liver that aids in metabolizing the drugs. The result of this inhibition is that you end up with a higher level of the active ingredient in your bloodstream. This can lead to adverse effects such as acute kidney failure, heart problems, kidney failure, trouble breathing and gastrointestinal bleeding.

This interaction occurs quickly and can last 24 hours or longer. The effects vary from person to person, but older people are at higher risk. The danger is also greater for drugs that have little forgiveness if the dose is off by even the slightest amount.

The bottom line if you take a prescription medication is to check with your health care professional. before consuming grapefruit or other juices mentioned above.  If there is an interaction and if you want to stay out of trouble stop drinking grapefruit juice.  Try orange or tangerine juice instead.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is Epilepsy An Indication For The Medical Use Of Pot?

An increasing number of epileptic patients are using marijuana to reduce their seizures. This group includes some children who have intractable epilepsy that does not respond to standard medications. These patients have been receiving medical marijuana because currently there is no pharmaceutical preparation of cannabis isolated as a drug. but this is changing because a chemical in marijuana that may be responsible for reducing seizures has been found.

This chemical is cannabidiol a derivative of marijuana that shows promise for the treatment o epilepsy in adults and in children. It may also be responsible for some of the other health benefits attributed to medical marijuana. Cannabidiol is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals under the name of Epidiolex. Interesting it is formulated without tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound in marijuana that gets people high.

So now we have the possibility of a derivative of marijuana that does not get the user high and still has the potential for treating medical problems. No one knows why or how this compound works but nevertheless it seems to work. A proper clinical test has been approved to determine whether it will diminish seizures in 150 children who have not been helped by standard seizure medication. If Epidiolex proves itself, a door will be opened to explore the potential of using marijuana derivatives for the treatment of other medical problems.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Do You Want To Try Chinese Herbs?

Chinese Herbs At A Famous Hospital

Whatever your opinion about the use of Chinese herbs to treat medical problems, and we must admit that we have little experience with these substances, this story grabbed our attention. A Chinese herbal center opened recently at the Cleveland Clinic. The clinic, which is part of the hospital's Center of Integrative Medicine, has one herbalist who sees patients on Thursdays. Patients must be referred by a doctor who will monitor them to ensure that there are no complications.The clinic is intended to fill a void for patients who are struggling with chronic care problems.

We applaud the Cleveland Clinic for being one of the first important medical facilities to work with these herbs. The problem for many of us who might try herbs on selected patients is that there is little scientific research outside of Asia on the use of these substances in medicine. This lack of information poses a problem for many physicians who might otherwise be interested in prescribing herbs for certain conditions. In an attempt to fill this void the National Institute of Health is currently funding research looking at the fundamental biological mechanisms of some herbal products.

At the Cleveland Clinic's herbal center new patients are given a one hour consultation that includes a battery of questions, a physical examination of the tongue and a traditional Chinese method for pulse taking. They are also asked to sign a waiver acknowledging that "herbal supplements are not a substitute for a medical diagnosis."

On one day at the clinic patients were seen who had problems ranging from chronic pain to anxiety, digestive issues and multiple sclerosis. Infertility, menstrual disorders and PMS are commonly treated with herbs. The jury is still out on the value of the Chinese herbs, but at the Cleveland Clinic the results are being critically evaluated. We should see some significant conclusions within a year or two, and we will all benefit from this information.

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