The dangers of grapefruit juice and medication

Grapefruit juice and obviously grapefruits since they contain grapefruit juice, can be deadly when you’re on certain medications.

I was giving a lecture at work on drug and food interactions, among them grapefruit juice, when one of the students shared with us that her grandmother had recently passed after consuming regular amounts of grapefruit juice over a week and the combination of grapefruit juice and her medication regimen interacted and caused her death.

This is a really sad story that should never have happened.

Her doctor should have warned her about this!

It made me realize the importance of raising awareness of this in order to hopefully prevent another tragedy from occuring.

 

 

grapefruit juice and medication

 

 

Drug Interactions with Grapefruits & Grapefruit Juice

While grapefruit is a nutritious fruit, its juice contains compounds known as furanocoumarins that block the CYP3A4 enzymes, so the enzyme’s ability to break down the drug for elimination is decreased.

Therefore blood levels of the drug may rise, along with the risk of toxicity.

The effects of grapefruit juice on certain medications can last for over 24 hours.  So, even if the medicine is taken only once per day, grapefruit and grapefruit juice should still be avoided for the entire treatment period.

 

Examples of medications where grapefruit/grapefruit juice should be avoided:

alprazolam

amiodarone

atorvastatin

carbamezepine

cilostazol

clarithromycin

colchicine

dronedarone

erythromycin

felodipine

fentanyl

fexofenadine

indinavir

loratadine

losartan

lovastatin

nilotinib

pazopanib

pimozide

ranolazine

saquinavir

sildenafil

simvastatin

tadalafil

vardenafil

verapamil

 

Most medications have multiple names so all medications should be checked to see if they interact with grapefruit juice.

It is also important to read up on the side effects and warnings on the pamphlet that most pharmacies include in the medication package.

I have found that pharmacists have a wealthy of information they are happy to share with you, so please pick up the phone and call your pharmacist to check up on the medications you are taking.  They have spent more time studying medications than your doctor!

Check out the clip below for a great explanation:

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