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Interaction between grapefruit and anti-epileptic drugs highlighted

20 August, 2002

The possible interaction between grapefruit or grapefruit juice drink and carbamazepine (Tegretol) has been highlighted in an alert issued by the New South Wales Health Department.

Chief Health Officer, Dr Greg Stewart, issued a public health warning about 25 different drugs, including some commonly used to treat epilepsy, high blood pressure or cholesterol, HIV/AIDS and organ transplants.

"The grapefruit and its juice increases the availability of the drug within the body which can lead to increased side effects," Dr Stewart said.

"People should carefully read their Consumer Medicine Information sheet which accompanies most prescription-only products obtainable from the pharmacist, or see their doctor," Dr Stewart said.

"It is important to remember that half a grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit juice can supply a full day's requirement of Vitamin C, and is a good source of Vitamin A."