Drug Interactions and Grapefruit

As if grapefruits don’t get enough hate! There are now more than 85 drugs that may interact with my all time favorite fruit: grapefruit.

The list includes some statins that lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin), some antibiotics, cancer drugs, and heart drugs.

Here’s what happens: Grapefruit contains furanocoumarins, which block an enzyme that normally breaks down certain medications in the body. When it is left unchecked, medication levels can grow toxic in the body.

Sorry to say, other citrus fruits aren’t off the hook. Seville oranges (often used in marmalade), limes, and pomelos also contain the active ingredients (furanocoumarins), but have not been as widely studied.

When picking up your prescription at the pharmacy double check with your doctor or pharmacist whether the drug you’re about to take has any interactions with food.

Better safe than sorry-it doesn’t take a lot of juice to produce a dangerous interaction.