Many people enjoy grapefruit with breakfast each morning or as a fresh, healthy snack later in the day. But this popular citrus fruit can interact with some medicines, including certain drugs for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Learn how grapefruit affects the way your body processes some drugs, and what you can do to stay safe.
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How Does Grapefruit Affect Medicine?
Grapefruit is rich in healthy nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium, but it can also block your body’s ability to clear some types of prescription drugs from your system. This could lead to excessively high amounts of the drug in your body, which can cause serious health problems.
In some cases, grapefruit can also make certain kinds of drugs less effective or cause new side effects.
Am I at risk?
Medicines that interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice include some, but not all, types of:
- Calcium channel blockers, a major class of medicines used to treat high blood pressure
- Statins, which treat high cholesterol
- Anti-arrhythmia drugs, which treat heart rhythm problems
- Anti-rejection medicines used after organ transplants
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Antihistamines, a type of allergy medicine
How can I stay safe?
Before you start any new medicine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the other medicines you take and the foods you usually eat. If grapefruit is a regular part of your diet, you might need to lower the amount that you eat, or avoid it altogether, depending on what medicines you take.
If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin C and potassium in your diet, a registered dietitian – an expert on diet and nutrition — can help you find other foods that are both healthy and safe based on the medicines you take.
Visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI to learn more.
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine. We strive to provide the most advanced, cutting-edge care for our patients, treating both common and complex conditions. We also offer services that seek to improve the health of our communities, including heart screenings, free clinics, and heart health education. Find an expert near you.