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Grapefruit Juice Can Be Dangerous, FDA Warns

Photo courtesy of ms.Tea/Flickr

People have argued back and forth over the benefits and hazards of drinking alcohol, but a new drink may be stepping into the limelight of debate. The FDA recently released a warning about the dangers of grapefruit juice. Yes, grapefruit juice. But don’t put your glass of pink liquid down too fast, the warning is only for those on certain medications.

The reason grapefruit can become harmful is that it shuts down a particular enzyme in our digestive system known as CYP3A4. Cyp3a4 works in our small intestine and helps us metabolize our food. When certain drugs aren’t metabolized, they go directly into our bloodstream at sometimes dangerous levels. This can happen even if you drink grapefruit juice hours before or after using medication.



You may be at risk while drinking grapefruit juice if you take any of the following medications.

  • some statin drugs to lower cholesterol, such as Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin)
  • some blood pressure-lowering drugs, such as Nifediac and Afeditab (both nifedipine)
  • some organ transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine)
  • some anti-anxiety drugs, such as BuSpar (buspirone)
  • some anti-arrhythmia drugs, such as Cordarone and Nexterone (both amiodarone)
  • some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine)

Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if grapefruit juice interferes with your medication, and be aware that tangelos and Seville oranges have the same effect.

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