Grapefruit and Medications

Grapefruit and medications:

I will help you take the mystery out of the question of whether you can have grapefruit with your medications. This is a topic that we hear regularly in the pharmacy, the discussion of whether you can have a grapefruit or drink some grapefruit juice with your medications.

Grapefruit inhibits a portion of the liver metabolizing system and also inhibits a specific protein in the gut that the body uses for metabolizing medications. If the medication you are taking needs one or both of these metabolizing systems to break it down, than you can not have grapefruit.

The medication will not be metabolized completely, and will then build up to potentially toxic levels and you could experience significant side effects from the medication.

Quite a few medications from many different therapeutic categories are included in the list of medications that interact with grapefruit. Please ask your pharmacist or doctor if any of your medications are on the list.

It is important to realize that just one grapefruit, or even just one glass of grapefruit juice is too much. The grapefruit has the potential to affect the metabolizing system for up to 3 full days, so it doesn't help to separate the grapefruit from your medication by a couple of hours.

The interaction is a little different for each person. It is not a good idea to try and adjust the dose of the medication to allow for grapefruit because it is very difficult to guess how much interaction any particular individual will have.

If you take one of the medications on the grapefruit interaction list, then you can not have grapefruit, regardless whether you drink it or eat it. It is interesting to note that most other citrus fruits, including most oranges, lemons and tangerines do not interact with this enzyme system and are OK to eat or drink.

If giving up grapefruit is not an option, than talk with your pharmacist or doctor about switching to an alternative medication that is not on the grapefruit interaction list.


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