Taking pills with food, grapefruit juice may be promising way to cut prescription costs for cancer patients

November 20, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

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New studies reveal a promising new ways to keep prescription drug costs down for cancer patients — and it could be just as easy as taking pills on a full stomach rather than an empty one as prescribed.

In general, patients who are advised to take drugs on an empty stomach are done so because it helps physicians better predict effects without having to worry about multiple variables. However, new clinical studies have revealed that certain drugs that are taken with food could be found at much higher blood levels than they are when taken on an empty stomach. Also, some drugs may be more effective at lower doses when taken with grapefruit juice by taking advantage of changes in blood composition. Changes like these can help save patients $1700 or more on their costly cancer drug costs.

From The New Scientist:

The approach, which might also work for other drugs, is based on the fact that certain foods can delay the breakdown of medications in the body. Doctors stress, however, that people should not yet attempt this cost-cutting method until studies demonstrate its safety.
In general, taking pills with food against the label’s advice can lead to an overdose. For this reason, pharmaceutical companies must provide the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with information on how eating a meal can influence the absorption of their products.

While physician researchers warn patients not to experiment with their own drug routines before further studies are made, they hope that these recent studies help create cheaper cancer treatment alternatives for patients.

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