Fruit drinks found to delay pain relief

For fast action pain relief, don't use fruit drinks to wash down your pain killers. That is the advice of Professor Lars Edvinsson from Lund University Hospital, who has found that the healing effects of paracetamol are much greater if the medicine is washed down with water.

“The pain killing effect is only half as strong if taken with a rose hip drink,” said Edvinsson.

The professor beganhis experiment after nurse Elise Lindström reported an observation she had made after one of her patients had vomited.

“I noticed that there was a whole pile of undigested Panodil tablets in the vomit. It was possible to read the writing on the tablets,” Lindström told staff magazine Lundajournalen.

The patient had taken some pain killers several hours earlier, using a fruit drink to wash them down.

Intrigued, Professor Edvinsson decided to experiment by placing different sorts of pills in medicine cups that were filled either with water or fruit drinks.

He soon found that the tablets mixed with fruit drinks took an average of five hours to dissolve, whereas those that were placed in water dissolved in ten minutes.

Tests were then carried out on 18 students, each of whom took the pain killer Panodil on three separate occasions – once with water, once with rose hip soup and once with a rose hip-based ProViva, a natural drink containing the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum 299v.

Repeated blood tests confirmed the professor’s suspicions: Paracetamol took twice as long to reach the bloodstream if taken with a rose hip drink rather than water.

Lars Edvinsson has speculated that the long carbohydrate molecules contained in fruit drinks may form a sort of web or coating around the pain killing tablets. He is currently preparing the results for presentation in a scientific journal.

The professor has also begun carrying out similar tests on medicines that do not contain paracetamol. So far, the results have been the same, although he has not yet tested them on human subjects.

Lars Edvinsson admitted to some concerned surrounding the early results, as it is not always possible for patients to avoid combining tablets with fruit drinks.

“The problem is greater than we might imagine. We have a lot of patients who survive on functional drinks alone and they need their medicines too,” he said.