BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Grapefruit and Drug Reactions

For years people did not know the consequences of eating grapefruit while taking certain prescription medications until now. Last month Dr. David Bailey, a Canadian researcher who discovered this interaction years ago, published a list of 85 different drugs on the market that can have life-threatening effects when mixed with grapefruit. In fact 43 of the 85 could be lethal. This is very scary information that before recently, doctors were not fully aware of what caused these reactions.

According to this article, a 42 year old woman was taken to the emergency room because of a drug overdose. She had a decreasing heart rate and falling blood pressure. She had been taking a medication called verapamil for migraines although the doctors found a huge amount of the drug after a blood test. The doctors found out that grapefruit juice was the only thing she could bear to eat or drink when she had these migraines which increased the potency of the drug. Doctors later found out that other juices cause this same effect when in the presence of other drugs.

The way to prevent these reactions is simply to be aware of the drugs that you are taking and what juices will effect these drugs in what way. Age can also be a large contributor to how these drugs effect our systems. As you get older the grapefruit juice increases the potency even more than when we are young. This article then is not to scare you into thinking juice can kill us when mixed with a simple cholesterol lowering drug, but to make you more aware next time you see that fresh grapefruit on the counter!

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3 Comments

  1. arthenice

    Interesting article. Turns out grapefruits interact with enzymes in the intestines and effects everyone differently on certain medications. The increased effect of the medications all depends on the amount of enzymes in your intestines.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/21/health/21grap.html?_r=0

  2. hannahbanana

    Weird! Grapefruit also is known for some great benefits like revving up the metabolism. Even weirder- this article I found talks about grapefruit helping lower cholesterol, what this woman was trying to help! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060213091300.htm
    This article also scared me a little bit. Although I don’t take many medicines, it is scary putting new foreign items into your body for the first time. I hate taking new drugs because I am always scared of some adverse reaction. I guess we should all just be more careful and understand the drugs we take from our doctors and pharmacists.

  3. explodingllama342

    It’s a shame more people don’t know about how foods interact with drugs. I think it’s a serious issue. For example, I never knew that certain allergy medications don’t work if you drink orange juice with them.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/food-medication-interactions-grapefruit_n_2199091.html

    This article talks about how evev more foods can have drugs interaction, foods like kale, and licorice.

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