Grapefruit and Medication Often Interact Poorly, Here’s Why

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We typically have a good time citrus fruits for his or her scrumptious tangy flavors and health-promoting attributes. Despite the fact that a Spicy Grapefruit Paloma with a salted rim is scrumptious (even with out tequila), consuming grapefruit can really work together poorly with prescription and over-the-counter remedy like allergy drugs, blood strain meds and antidepressants. This interplay might be much less extreme, merely rendering your allergy meds ineffective, or it may trigger one thing resembling a withdrawal expertise.

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This grapefruit-related phenomenon was initially reported in a 1989 research investigating the potential interactions between ethanol and felodipine, a drug used to deal with blood strain, says Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT, medical toxicologist and co-medical director of Nationwide Capital Poison Heart. On this research, individuals got a placebo or ethanol combined with grapefruit juice to masks the style, adopted by a dose of the blood strain drug.

Surprisingly, the outcomes have been virtually the alternative of what researchers anticipated, Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains. What researchers discovered that day, and proceed to seek out, is that grapefruit can affect the metabolization of medicine in each instructions: creating an excessive amount of or too little of a dose within the bloodstream.

Why does this interplay happen

Grapefruit incorporates a pure compound referred to as ‘furanocoumarins,’ Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains. Furanocoumarins are pure compounds that assist citrus crops defend towards bugs and different stressors. However, the outstanding furanocoumarins in grapefruit are additionally recognized to dam the exercise of intestinal enzymes that help within the breakdown of many medicines in people, Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains.

These enzymes, often called “cytochrome P450 3A4”, are concerned within the metabolism of quite a few prescription and over-the-counter medicine, together with Allerga, the allergy drugs, statins (which management blood strain), and Buspar (which is commonly prescribed for anxiousness), Dr. Johnson-Arbor says. When individuals who take these medicines drink grapefruit juice or devour contemporary grapefruit, the physique could not break down the drugs usually, resulting in undesirable unintended effects and even toxicity, relying on the drug. (The remedy listing is, sadly, in depth, however you could find out about your medicines by utilizing the interplay mechanism on web sites like

Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains that grapefruit juice additionally impacts a protein system that helps transport medicine backwards and forwards throughout cells in our our bodies. Grapefruit juice’s halting results on this technique may end up in greater or decrease ranges of medicines inside the physique, which may trigger each opposed unintended effects and/or decreased remedy effectiveness, relying on the person. That is regarding when you think about that the drug impacts the efficacy of medicines like antidepressants and might trigger vital withdrawal-like unintended effects.

Learn how to defend your self

Everyone seems to be completely different, Dr. Johnson-Arbor says. Some folks may be capable to devour grapefruit and haven’t any affect on their remedy. Whereas others, particularly on greater doses of life-stabilizing medicines, ought to keep away from it altogether. Due to this, folks ought to discuss with their physician or pharmacist about potential drug interactions, together with the affect of ingesting grapefruit juice, when beginning a brand new remedy.

Luckily, most individuals can safely devour different citrus juices, together with orange juice, with out experiencing comparable drug interactions.


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