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Can Grapefruit Interfere With Medications?

Orange and grapefruit juices are great sources of potassium and vitamin C, but some of you said you shy away from grapefruit — not because you don't love the taste, but because it interferes with the effectiveness of certain medications. It's true. There are chemical compounds in grapefruit known as furanocoumarins (FCs) that affect the enzymes in the intestines and liver that break down meds.

There's a list of drugs that doctors insist you avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking, because it can cause dangerously high levels of the drug in the blood, which can lead to serious side effects. Pomelos and Seville oranges, a type of bitter orange often used to make marmalade, should also be avoided.

To see a list from the Mayo Clinic of which meds may be affected by grapefruit, keep reading.

  • Amiodarone (Cordarone): used to treat and prevent abnormal heart rhythms
  • Buspirone (BuSpar), sertraline (Zoloft): used to treat depression and anxiety
  • Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol): anti-seizure medication
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), tacrolimus (Prograf): immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants, or to treat autoimmune diseases such as Chrohn's disease, or non-autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as asthma
  • Felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Procardia), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular): used to treat high blood pressure
  • Saquinavir: used to treat HIV
  • Simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor), atorvastatin (Lipitor): used to treat high cholesterol

Do you take any of these meds? Did you know that citrus could be a problem?

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