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All Boards >> Irritable Bowel Syndrome Research Library

HeatherAdministrator

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7677
Loc: Seattle, WA
Grapefruit Juice Can Interact With Medicines
      02/06/05 02:41 PM

Grapefruit Juice Can Interact With Medicines

Grapefruit juice has been touted as containing many compounds that can reduce hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and even the risk of cancer. A nutraceutical is a food or part of a food that allegedly provides medicinal or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Grapefruit juice can, therefore, be justifiably referred to as a classic nutraceutical. However, for many persons taking certain medications, grapefruit juice might actually better be termed a "nutrapollutical!"

It turns out that grapefruit juice can directly or indirectly interact in important ways with a number of medications. This is especially significant since grapefruit juice is consumed by approximately one fifth of Americans for breakfast - a time when medications are also commonly taken.

Grapefruit juice inhibits a special enzyme in the intestines that is responsible for the natural breakdown and absorption of many medications. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, the blood levels of these medications increase, which can lead to toxic side effects from the medications.

Amazingly, this remarkable food-drug interaction was discovered completely by accident! Researchers were investigating the relationship of certain drugs to alcohol and used a solution of alcohol with grapefruit juice to mask the taste of alcohol for the study. Subsequently, it was found that the grapefruit juice itself was actually increasing the amount of the study drug in the body.

Grapefruit juice research has suggested that flavonoids and/or furanocoumarin compounds are the substances that act to block the enzyme in the intestines that normally metabolizes many drugs.

The grapefruit juice-drug interaction can lead to unpredictable and hazardous levels of certain important drugs.

These are medications with which grapefruit juice should NOT be consumed unless advised by a doctor:

Statins (Cholesterol Drugs): Mevacor (Lovastatin), Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Zocor (Simvastatin)

Antihistamines: Ebastine, Seldane (Terfenadine, taken off the U.S. market)

Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Drugs): Nimotop (Nimodipine), Nitrendipine, Plendil (Felodipine), Pranidipine, Sular (Nisoldipine)

Psychiatric Medications: Buspar (Buspirone), Halcion (Triazolam), Tegretol (Carbamazepine), Valium (Diazepam), Versed (Midazolam)

Intestinal Medications: Propulsid (Cisapride, taken off the U.S. market)

Immune Suppressants: Neoral (Cyclosporine), Prograf (Tacrolimus)

Pain Medications: Methadone

Impotence Drug: Viagra (Sildenafil)

Toxic blood levels of these medications can occur when patients taking them consume grapefruit juice. The high blood levels of the medications can cause damage to organs or impair their normal function, which can be dangerous. If you or a family member are taking any of these medications, beware of the "nutrapollutical" - grapefruit juice.

Source: Mayo Clin Proc. 2000;75:933-942.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=14760


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Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She’s the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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