Grapefruit Juice Can Have Dangerous Interactions With Some Meds

Eating a grapefruit or having a glass of grapefruit juice in the morning can be a healthy way to start your day – the fruit is high in vitamin C and potassium. But the FDA is reminding consumers that grapefruit can interact with many drugs and how they work in the body, especially if you have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.

When grapefruit interacts with certain medications, the problem is that the juice causes too much of the drug to enter the bloodstream. That can lead to more side effects. For example, drinking grapefruit juice while taking statins such as Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin), drugs used to lower cholesterol, can lead to too much of the drug remaining in your system, increasing your risk for liver and muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure.

Here are some types of drugs that may interact with grapefruit juice:

  • Some drugs that treat high blood pressure, such as Procardia and Adalat CC (both nifedipine)
  • Some organ-transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine)
  • Some anti-anxiety drugs, such as buspirone
  • Some corticosteroids that treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, such as Entocort EC and Uceris (both budesonide)
  • Some drugs that treat abnormal heart rhythms, such as Pacerone and Nexterone (both amiodarone)
  • Some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine)

For a further list of drugs that interact with grapefruit, click here.

Grapefruit juice actually causes less Allegra to enter the bloodstream, which may hamper the effectiveness of the drug.

If you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice and have concerns about it interacting with any of the drugs you are taking, talk it over with your doctor. You can also read the medication guide or patient information sheet that comes with your prescription drugs to see if there is a grapefruit juice warning. For OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, check out the Drug Facts label on the bottle.

If you have to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice, pay attention to the labels of other fruit juices as they may contain grapefruit juice. Seville oranges, pomelos and tangelos can have the same effect on drugs as grapefruit, so best to avoid them if you know your drug can interact with grapefruit.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is MedShadow's content editor. He has previously worked for Psychiatry Advisor, Modern Healthcare, Health Reform Week and The Pink Sheet.


Did you find this article helpful?


Latest News

News Scan: Warfarin, A-Fib, Lavender Oil and Dopamine Agonist Medicine

News Scan: Warfarin, A-Fib, Lavender Oil and Dopamine Agonist Medicine

Every so often a lay person like me slaps her forehead and says out loud, “what took so long?” A veggie works better than a medicine, why not use the veggie? Talking to patients in their home leads to better understanding by the patients? Of course. And less intuitive but…

News Scan 9/4/2019: Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis and Cardio Health

News Scan 9/4/2019: Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis and Cardio Health

Less medicine and a little less food are the themes for keeping healthy this week.  Be well.    Breast Cancer and Hormone Treatment In a large study of published studies (meta analysis) that included more than 100,000 women, those who reported ever using MHT had a 26% higher relative risk…