Researchers Study Food?Drug Interactions
The University of Florida's (UF) Collegeof Pharmacy and Tufts Universityof Medicine are working together tobring researchers in pharmacy, medicine,and food science to investigateknown food?drug interactions andanticipate new ones. Research will beconducted at UF's Center forFood?Drug Interaction Research andEducation. The researchers will firstfocus on the "grapefruit juice effect," aphenomenon that has garnered a lot ofmedia attention since its discovery in1989. Researchers have discovered thatgrapefruit juice interferes with thebody's ability to break down certaindrugs, increasing drug absorption.
"There's an immediate need for furtherresearch to identify exactly whichdrugs are affected by grapefruit juiceand which ones aren't so that drugsubstitutions can be recommended,"said center founder Hartmut Derendorf,PhD.
Additional support from the FDAand the Florida Department of Citruswill allow the researchers to develop astrategy that considers both the welfareof the public and the grapefruitindustry. "Without up-to-date researchproviding factual information, patientssometimes feel they should avoiddrinking grapefruit juice to be safe,"Derendorf said. "This is not always thebest solution since the juice contributesvaluable health benefits."
Therefore, the researchers will providespecific guidelines and dosing recommendations,and educate the publicabout the risks and potential impactof food?drug interactions. Plans includedisseminating informationthrough the company's Web site(www.cop.ufl.edu/safezone/pat/citrus/);organizing scientific symposia onfood?drug interactions at nationalmeetings of physicians, pharmacists,and nurse practitioners; and maintaininga speaker's bureau for lectures andpresentations to professional groupsand consumers.