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A Reminder That Meds and Grapefruit Don't Always Mix

Could be a dangerous combination, depending on the drug

woman eating grapefruit

SUNDAY, July 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If you like grapefruit juice, you need to be aware that it can affect the way some medications work, especially those used to treat high blood pressure or an irregular heart rhythm.

That's the message from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA requires some prescription and over-the-counter drugs taken by mouth to include warnings against drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit while taking the drug.

In most types of medications that interact with grapefruit juice, "the juice lets more of the drug enter the blood. When there is too much drug in the blood, you may have more side effects," the FDA's Shiew Mei Huang said in an agency news release.

Examples of types of drugs that can be affected by grapefruit include:

  • Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, such as Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin).
  • High blood pressure drugs, such as Procardia and Adalat CC (both nifedipine).
  • Organ-transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine).
  • Anti-anxiety drugs, such as buspirone.
  • Corticosteroids used to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, such as Entocort EC and Uceris (both budesonide).
  • Drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, such as Pacerone and Nexterone (both amiodarone).
  • Some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine).

Grapefruit juice doesn't affect all drugs in the listed categories. And, the severity of the interaction can differ depending on the person, the drug and the amount of grapefruit juice consumed, the FDA said.

Read all information provided with your medications and talk to your doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider to find out if a medication is affected by grapefruit juice, or how much -- if any -- grapefruit juice you can have.

Also, check to see if any other fruits or juices may affect your medication in a similar way to grapefruit juice.

More information

The FDA has more on grapefruit and medication.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release
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