Drug-Food interactions series: Grapefruit and its juice

The next culprit on our drug-food interaction series is the grapefruit juice and the grape fruit itself. In itself it is a very healthy fruit, however, it doesn’t mix well with certain drugs.

Why?

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Grapefruit  blocks enzymes that break down certain drugs  leaving higher levels of medication in your blood and possibly increasing your risk for side effects.

Most common are drugs affected by grapefruit include:

  • Statins (drugs used to lower blood cholesterol levels) like atorvastatin (Avas, Atorfit)
  • Calcium channel blockers (a class of anti hypertensive drugs) like nifedipine (Adalat, Nifedipine Denk)
  • Some Antiarrythmic drugs (drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms) like amodiarone (Eurythmic)
  • Drugs for erectile dysfunction like sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Some anti-infective drugs like erythromycin and albendazole

The list above are just a few examples.

It’s  vital to point out that even just a little amount grapefruit juice can drastically change the level of the drugs in the body with severe consequences. These effects vary from person to person and also on the amount of grapefruit taken.

Unlike other drug-food interactions where you could still eat the culprit food 2 hours after your medication, for grapefruit, its effect could last over 24hours. It is best to avoid grapefruit and its juice throughout your treatment plan. 

How do I check for food-drugs interactions ?

Anytime you’re given a newly prescribed or over-the-counter medication, you’ll want to always read the drug warning labels.

Be sure to ask your doctor and/or pharmacist about which foods or other drugs you should avoid or be concerned about taking, based on your diet.

You may want to see if there is a different medication you could take, that would work better with your diet.

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