Meds and you

25 July 2017

Stop eating grapefruit if you take any of these meds

Do you love the bittersweet taste of a freshly-cut grapefruit for breakfast? Just be careful that it doesn't interfere with you medication.

Grapefruit is one of the best breakfast foods to burn fat, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin C.  But be aware that your grapefruit or grapefruit juice can affect the way some medications work, especially those used to treat high blood pressure or irregular heart rhythm.

Those are the findings based on research done by Dr Ingrid van Heerden, published in a Health24 article.

The effects of grapefruit on some medications are so far-reaching that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires some prescription and over-the-counter drugs taken by mouth to include warnings against drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit while taking the drug.

Why can it be dangerous?

In most types of medications that interact with grapefruit juice, "the juice lets more of the drug enter the blood. When there is too much drug in the blood, you may have more side effects," the FDA's Shiew Mei Huang said in an agency news release.

Drugs that can be affected by grapefruit include:

  • Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, such as Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin)
  • High blood pressure drugs, such as Procardia and Adalat CC (both nifedipine)
  • Organ-transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine).
  • Anti-anxiety drugs, such as buspirone
  • Corticosteroids used to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, such as Entocort EC and Uceris (both budesonide)
  • Drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, such as Pacerone and Nexterone (both amiodarone)
  • Some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine)

Grapefruit juice doesn't affect all drugs in the listed categories. And, the severity of the interaction can differ depending on the person, the drug and the amount of grapefruit juice consumed, the FDA said.

Better safe than sorry

Read all information provided with your medications and talk to your doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider to find out if a medication is affected by grapefruit juice, or how much, if any, grapefruit juice you can have. Also, check to see if any other fruits or juices may affect your medication in a similar way to grapefruit juice.

Read more:

Grapefruit ups breast risk

How grapefruit can affect medications

Mixing grapefruit with meds could be deadly