Under normal circumstances, grapefruit and grapefruit juice are healthy options to include in your diet. But it has been well-known that grapefruit contains natural substances that interfere with the body’s metabolism of some prescription drugs.
The list of problematic interactions with pharmaceuticals just became longer. A Canadian study shows that the number of drugs that should not be taken along with grapefruit products has more than doubled in the past four years.
“The number of drugs on the market with the potential to produce serious adverse and in many cases life-threatening effects when combined with grapefruit has markedly increased… from 17 to 43 in four years,” lead researcher David Bailey, from the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, told HealthDay News.
“There is much greater need for health care professionals to understand grapefruit/drug interactions and to apply this information to the safer use of these drugs in their clinical practice,” Bailey warns.
The drugs that lead to the most serious interactions with grapefruit include:
- Particular statin drugs that lower cholesterol, including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin).
- Certain blood pressure drugs, including nifedipine (Nifediac and Afeditab).
- Drugs designed to suppress the rejection of transplanted organs, including cyclosporine (Sandimmune and Neoral).
- Some cardiovascular medications, including clopidogrel, amiodarone (Cordarone and Nexterone), and apixaban.
Older people are both the major consumers of grapefruit and the predominant age group that takes pharmaceuticals, so they are at the greatest risk of these interactions. Due to their age, they are also the most at risk of harmful interactions between grapefruit and prescription medications.