now clogging the internet elsewhere

06 January 2006

You might be able to guess from this little story that I was procrastinating

I was eating a grapefruit this morning, trying in the new year to take the advice of someone who suggested that a diet made up entirely of triscuits, hummus, and extra sharp cheddar might be lacking in some key nutrients.

As I was eating my grapefruit, thoroughly enjoying it (why, oh why, can’t pink grapefruits the size of beer league softballs be in season all year long?) I tried to remember why I haven’t always eaten grapefruit. Then it came to me: seldane!

For a few years in the early to mid 1990s, I was on a medication called Seldane to treat my constant, overwhelming, horrible allergies. I once walked into a doctor’s office and he told me “good god, you look like you have two black eyes!” That’s how messed up my sinuses were. Seeing as how I was 12 and horribly self-conscious at the time, this seemed a little callous, and I think I might even have welled up a little, thinking that even my doctor, a man paid to help me, was against me, but that might have just been the pre-teen hormones talking.

So anyway, he put me on Seldane, and Vancenase, and another medicine whose name I’ve forgotten. This was in the days before Claritin and Allegra, remember. You couldn’t have one pill that would block histamines and clear you up- each thing needed a separate medication.

Anyway, Seldane had some seriously wacked drug interaction problems, including the still-a-mystery-to-me total prohibition on grapefruit. Apparently, taking Seldane and eating grapefruit in too close proximity can cause you to sprout fur and bleat like a goat. Or die. Something serious. Seldane was eventually pulled from the market, as apparently it also gave people heart attacks or something.

So I was looking this up this morning, to confirm that my memory served and I had discontinued consumption of grapefruit because of Seldane, when I found this little nugget:

Seldane Question: I am a cardiac patient for whom Procardia has been prescribed. I have been reading that Seldane and grapefruit could be a deadly combination. Do you have any information of this?

Answer: Didn't used to think so, but recent information shows a major change in many drugs while taking grapefruit juice, particularly some calcium channel blockers. However, Seldane is no longer available so this is probably a mute point.

A mute point? As in, “well, the points about the value of regular ear cleaning and the miracle of banana smoothies when used as hangover cures are really talkative, maybe even a little bit pushy, but that point about not eating grapefruit while taking an allergy medicine whose side effects are CERTAINLY WORSE than a little sneezing? Yeah, we don’t hear much from that point. He’s shy.”


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