Grapefruit health warning

Certain medications mixed with grapefruit could have dangerous reactions

Published On: Nov 29 2012 06:04:18 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A health alert involving something that many might have on the table for breakfast in the morning -- a grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
     
While the fruit might seem harmless, it could put you at risk.

It might seem dramatic to some, but according to scientists, dozens of prescription medications have dangerous reactions when mixed with grapefruit.

Some of those reactions can even be deadly.

Scientists say grapefruit juice interacts with the medications and actually blocks enzymes in the wall of the small intestines.

So instead of the drug being broken down, it enters the bloodstream at full force and can lead to an overdose.

One glass of grapefruit juice taken with your medication can lead to kidney failure, breathing problems or sudden death.

The drugs known to interact with grapefruit include anti-cancer agents, heart drugs, pain medication and drugs to treat schizophrenia. All of these drugs are typically taken orally.

Grapefruit is consumed by one fifth of Americans at breakfast time, typically the time of day when medications are taken.

"Well it certainly can be dangerous in certain situations," Pharmacist Gary Roberts said. "Other situations aren't quite as dangerous. Some are very popular drugs. Lipitor, Zocor, or Simvastatin is the generic. All of the strains which are used for cholesterol. Quite a few people who are on cholesterol drugs fall into that category. Some antiarrhythmic drugs that control the heart rate."

This food drug interaction is something that was discovered more than a decade ago, but recently, over the past four years, 43 people have suffered adverse effects, including death.