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Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Medications may have dangerous interactions when taken with Grapefruit Juice

May 9th, 2006

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Medications may have dangerous interactions when taken with Grapefruit Juice


Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that some prescription drugs can possibly cause dangerous interactions when taken with grapefruit juice. 

It was originally believed that flavonoids from the grapefruit juice caused the interactions; however the researchers believe that it is because of a chemical called furanocoumarins that is found in the grapefruit which contributes to the problem.

Grapefruit juice causes some drugs to not be absorbed because an intestinal enzyme called CYP3A partially destroys the medication before it is absorbed.  The researchers first reported there discovery in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


The researchers removed furanocoumarins from the grapefruit and were able to test if the medications were absorbed.  The drug that they tested was felodipine which is an anti-hypertension drug that is known to interact with grapefruit juice.  They completed a randomized study with 18 healthy participants.  They each took 10 milligrams of felodipine along with one of three different types of juices.  They were either given orange juice, regular grapefruit juice or the modified furanocoumarin-free grapefruit juice.  They measure the participant’s blood after 24 hours to see how well the felodipine was absorbed into the body.

The participants that took the orange juice and the modified furanocoumarin-free grapefruit juice did not have an interaction with the felodipine when the regular grapefruit juice did interact.  By removing the furanocoumarins from the grapefruit the drug was able to be absorbed.


The lead author, Dr. Paul Watkins who is the Dr. Verne S. Caviness distinguished professor of medicine and director of UNC's General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) said, “First, it should now be possible to market the furanocoumarin-free grapefruit juice to patients who would otherwise need to avoid grapefruit. In addition, it should be possible to screen new foods for the potential for drug interactions by determining whether they contain furanocoumarins.   Finally, it may be possible to add furanocoumarins to formulations of certain drugs that tend to be poorly or erratically absorbed to improve their oral delivery”

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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