Fruit Juice May Interfere With Your Medication

Patient Expert

Do you remember the story that came out a few years back, about mixing grapefruit juice and certain medications and how it was a big no-no? According to the University of Florida, Center for Food-Drug Interaction Research and Education: "Grapefruit juice appeared on the food-drug interaction radar in the late 1980s when scientists discovered that it contains natural substances that can affect the way certain prescription medications are broken down (metabolized) by an enzyme, known as CYP3A4. If a person drinks grapefruit juice and takes one of these drugs orally, more of the drug may enter the bloodstream than would have under normal circumstances. This means that grapefruit juice has the potential to enhance the absorption of these certain prescription drugs." So grapefruit juice and certain medications can interact and become toxic.

Hmmm, an excellent reminder for even those of us who are not taking these medications. All food is chemical and interacts chemically with other substances in our bodies including medications. Remember the antibiotics and no dairy rule?

Check out this handy chart listing the drugs that interact with grapefruit juice. Please check with your doctor if you are beginning a new medication and grapefruit is a regular part of your daily diet.

While orange juice was recently cleared as safe to drink with medicine, you may want to check this out about your favorite fruit-juice-medication-chaser, because last week the New York Times Well Blog posted a blog stating that it is now believed that other juices may also not mix well with certain medications based on a new study. "Now, researchers have raised a new concern: grapefruit, orange and apple juices may also block the effects of some drugs, wiping out any potential benefit to patients, according to a new study."

The post continues: "So far, the investigators have found that grapefruit, orange and apple juices reduce absorption of the anticancer drug etoposide; certain beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure; cyclosporine, used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs; and certain antibiotics."

So what does this all mean? Talk with your doctor about your diet when starting a new medication. Ask your doctor about possible food interactions with your medicine. And your best bet: take your medication with good, old, plain water.