Why should grapefruit be avoided with some medicines?
Grapefruit juice and grapefruit can be beneficial to one’s health when consumed in moderation. Grapefruit is high in vitamin C and potassium, two components that your body requires to function correctly. Grapefruit juice and grapefruit can interfere with the effectiveness of your medications, and this food-drug combination can be dangerous. It is a type of drug interaction i.e., when one medicine or food affects the way another medicine works, it is called a drug interaction.
What causes grapefruit to interact with medications?
- Drugs and poisons are normally broken down (metabolized) before being excreted from the body. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can affect how medications are transformed in the body before they are removed by altering enzymes.
- Grapefruit juice inhibits the cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) enzymes, which are responsible for the breakdown of numerous medicines and poisons.
- Furanocoumarins, which are found in grapefruit, inhibit the CYP3A4 enzymes. The enzyme’s ability to break down the medication for elimination is reduced when grapefruit juice is eaten.
- The drug’s blood levels may rise, increasing the chance of new or worsening side effects.
- Abnormal heart rhythms, stomach bleeding, muscle pain, muscle breakdown, kidney damage, low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, sedation, and dizziness are all possible side effects.
- Other reactions are possible, depending on the drug and the drug’s concentration in the blood.
What are some instances of drugs that interact with grapefruit?
- Grapefruit juice interacts with calcium channel blockers, causing blood levels to rise. Calcium channel blockers are medications that relax the muscles that line the insides of arteries. They’re used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary heart disease.
- If you’re taking warfarin and drinking grapefruit juice at the same time. It can worsen the effects of warfarin on your blood, making you bleed more easily. Warfarin is an anticoagulant medication that helps to prevent blood clots. They’re given to those who are at a high risk of blood clots in order to assist them prevent serious illnesses including strokes and heart attacks.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs are known as statins. Grapefruit or grapefruit juice has an effect on some statins. Statins function by inhibiting the body from naturally producing cholesterol. This improves the blood’s lipoprotein profile and lowers the number of people dying from heart disease.
- If you combine grapefruit juice with antiplatelet medication, your drug may become less effective. Platelets (a type of blood cell) clump together and form blood clots when antiplatelet medications are taken. They can help protect you from heart attacks and strokes.
- Do not consume grapefruit juice if you are taking any of these medications without first seeing your doctor. Ciclosporin, sirolimus, and tacrolimus are drugs that help your immune system (your body’s natural defense mechanism) to function more effectively.