Grapefruit and Your Medications…

August 24, 2007

2592766622.jpgIt is very important that one should be careful with food to drug or drug to drug interactions.  It is for this reason that as physicians, we are so careful in allowing our patients to take any medications without our knowledge.  Chinese medications for example can be a headache because patients can just buy them anywhere.  They work BUT what do they contain and what are the side effects?

Similar problems can be encountered with foods like fruits.  Take grapefuit as an example. I was asked this question several times so I thought of sharing this information to all.

There’s no question that grapefruit juice provides many nutrients, such as vitamin C and lycopene or fiber that can help lower cholesterol and triglyserides.  But  the pulp and the peel can also contain chemicals that can affect the actions of certain medications by interfering with the enzymes that break down the drugs in your digestive system. This interaction can be deleterious as the patient can have an excessively high levels of the active drug compound resulting in an increased risk of serious side effects.

This caution includes dietary supplements that contain grapefruit bioflavonoids – because in itself…it can also interact with certain medications. So be sure to read labels of your viatmins that may contain this compound.

Below is the list of drugs that one should avoid if you are a fan of grapefruit or better still take caution with these drugs if you eat grapefruit.  The list came from the Mayo Clinic Health Site.

Grapefruit and drug interactions
The following drugs are known to have potentially serious interactions with grapefruit products, tangelos and Seville oranges.
Drug name Type of drug
Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol) An anti-seizure medication
Buspirone (BuSpar), clomipramine (Anafranil) and sertraline (Zoloft) Antidepressants
Diazepam (Valium), triazolam (Halcion) Tranquilizers
Felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular) and possibly verapamil (Isoptin, Verelan) Calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure
Saquinavir (Invirase) and indinavir (Crixivan) HIV medications
Simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev) and atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin-ezetimibe (Vytorin) HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors used to treat high cholesterol
Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), tacrolimus (Prograf) and sirolimus (Rapamune) Immunosuppressant drugs
Amiodarone (Cordarone) A drug used to treat and prevent abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
Methadone Pain relief medication
Sildenafil (Viagra) Erectile dysfunction medication

Other sources of Vitamin C like oranges, and lemons are okay to eat and have not been shown to affect drug levels.

Remember, the effect of this food to drug interaction can last from 1 to 3 days so please advise your doctors especially if you are taking certain drugs whose level if they go up can have serious effects like the blood thinning medication warfarin or coumadin.

The bottom like is: … dont take anything without checking!  Please be very cautious in taking supplements or chinese medications. Check with your doctors first.  Dont believe your friends or the advertisers that they’re safe!

I guess it’s the same thing in business and personal relationships … dont get into something that you are not sure of because trouble will hit you and hit you HARD!!!!

Better To Be Sure Than SORRY!


2 Responses to “Grapefruit and Your Medications…”

  1. Malyn Says:

    I was told by a friend that taking grapefruit juice everyday helps in losing weight. Is this true?

  2. Doc Gerry Says:

    Anything than helps fill you up will make you less likely to be hingry. Since grapefruit is high in fiber and has low glycemic index…then in itself can make you fill up more and therefore causes less craving. There is so far one pilot study that looked at weight loss and a 3-4 lbs weight loss was noted if grapefruit is added to the meal. Is this significant…more studies need to be done.

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