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Cialis and the problems that come when eating grapefruit

It looks perfectly innocent, sitting there in its yellow skin. Round and soft it waits to be peeled. Use a knife or a fingernail and there’s a spurt of juice. A rich smell fills the room. Break it into segments. Add some sugar. The result is delight. Unless you are taking one of the long list of drugs that interact with grapefruit and make the arrival of the side effects more probable. For these purposes, it makes no difference whether you are eating the fruit or drinking the juice. Indeed, so powerful is the juice that it affects your body even when it has been through processing and comes to you in one of these cardboard containers from a supermarket shelf. It also makes no difference that it’s mixed with other juices or added to a cocktail with alcohol. Once this fruit juice is in your body, it can affect the drugs you take for 24 hours (or more depending on how much of the fruit you consumed and your body weight). So what exactly is going on and why is it dangerous?

In the majority of situations, even in a clinic or hospital, it’s convenient to take medication orally. This can be a pill or capsule or a liquid. Yes there are alternatives including absorption through the skin, but most pharmaceutical companies rely on the stomach and internal organs to process the drug and send it round the body in the bloodstream. The chemistry of this is very sophisticated. The stomach contains a dilute form of hydrochloric acid plus a range of enzymes that break everything down into its constituent elements. The resulting slurry passes into the intestines and through the filters in the liver. At each stage, different enzymes come into contact with the slurry and change the contents to something the body will find useful. The result, as you know, is that the body gets the benefit of the nutriments and the rest is allowed to leave the body.

Drugs have to be designed to go through this processing and get caught by the liver. Detailed calculations are needed by the doctor to ensure the dose you take delivers the right amount of the processed drug into your blood. If you have eaten something that disrupts the enzymes, you may get too much or too little of the drug in your blood. Either way, this is bad news because the drug will either be ineffective or, in a concentrated form, too effective and likely to cause side effects. This warning applies to all the erectile dysfunctional drugs. If you have eaten grapefruit in the last two days, there’s a risk you will get too much Cialis in your blood. This can make you dizzy, give you a headache and disturb your digestion. In other words, you get the symptoms normally associated with an overdose. You should take particular care with the once-daily form of Cialis. Do not eat a grapefruit or drink the juice!