“Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice,” has been a common warning from pharmacists to their patients, but a recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal is warning that because of new chemical formulations, the number of prescription drugs that have harmful interaction with grapefruit have more than doubled since 2008.
The study notes that people over 45 are at the highest risk for two reasons: they’re the highest consumers of grapefruit juice and they’re more likely to be taking medications for a range of illnesses.
The reason mixing grapefruit and prescription medication can have adverse affects is because of a chemical called furanocoumarin. It acts like an enzyme in the stomach and can change the potency of medication and how it works. A small amount of grapefruit, even ingested hours before taking the medications, can increase the amount of the drug metabolized, which is like taking many doses at once and can lead to the same reaction the body would have if it was overdosing on a drug.
Limes and some oranges also contain furanocoumarin.
According to the report, drugs that can interact with grapefruit include:
- Certain cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, such as Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin),
- Some blood pressure-lowering drugs, such as nifedipine (Nifediac and Afeditab),
- Organ transplant rejection drugs, such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune and Neoral),
- Certain cardiovascular drugs, such as amiodarone (Cordarone and Nexterone), clopidogrel and apixaban.
It’s important to be aware of food and drink interactions with your prescription medication. Always talk to your doctor, or Ask a Pharmacist here at CanadaDrugs.com if you ever have any questions about any of your prescriptions. Our team is here to help. It’s not just grapefruit that reacts with some medication. Even milk can change how certain drugs work.
Always be aware of each of the drugs you are taking and how they work. A little knowledge can go a long way to making sure that your health is looked after.