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Medication interactions with grapefruit

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice can interfere with certain medications. In this article, we will look at which medications are affected and explore the mechanism behind these interactions.

How does grapefruit interact with medications?

Most grapefruit interactions lead to an increase in side effects from the medication. This is due to grapefruit inhibiting enzymes needed in removing the medication from your body. Enzymes are proteins that control chemical reactions. Your body needs to modify medications before removing them. Enzymes, found mainly in your liver and small intestine, carry out these modifications.

Grapefruit, however, can bind to and inhibit these enzymes (specifically CYP3A4 enzymes), making them unable to perform their normal functions. The result is an increased level of the medication in your bloodstream, resulting in a greater risk of developing side effects.

What medications interact with grapefruit?

Grapefruit can affect some medications for over 24 hours. Therefore, you can't avoid the interaction no matter what time of the day you consume grapefruit.

Some examples of medications that interact with grapefruit include but are not limited to:

What should I do if I take any of these medications?

If you take any of these medications, it is best to avoid consuming grapefruit. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about any other medications interacting with grapefruit.

Keeping yourself safe

Potential drug interactions with grapefruit extend beyond the listed medications. It's crucial to note that other drugs may also be affected by grapefruit, as the list provided is not exhaustive. Therefore, if you are taking any medication, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to determine if grapefruit or grapefruit juice may interact with your specific medications. They can provide personalized guidance and recommendations based on your medical history and the medications you are taking.

Understanding and managing drug interactions is essential for your health and safety. It is important to follow the advice and instructions provided by your healthcare professional regarding the use of medications and potential interactions with grapefruit. In cases where grapefruit interaction is a concern, alternatives or adjustments to your medication regimen can be explored to ensure optimal therapeutic outcomes without the risk of adverse effects associated with grapefruit consumption.

By staying informed and actively discussing your medication regimen with your healthcare provider, you can make informed decisions regarding the use of grapefruit and minimize the potential risks of drug interactions. Remember, your healthcare team is there to support you and provide guidance to ensure safe and effective treatment.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
EmailFacebookPinterestTwitter
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