Q: We live in southern Arizona where citrus trees thrive and own two well-producing grapefruit trees. Are there prescription drugs that do not act well with grapefruit?


Answer :According to the Center for Food-Drug Interaction Research and Education, led by Tufts and the University of Florida, most prescription drugs do not show a clinically relevant interaction with grapefruit juice-despite popular belief. In the late 1980s, scientists discovered that grapefruit juice contains natural substances that can affect the way certain prescription medications are broken down (metabolized) by an enzyme, known as CYP3A4. If a person drinks grapefruit juice and takes one of these drugs orally, more of the drug may enter the bloodstream than would have under normal circumstances. This means that grapefruit juice has the potential to enhance the absorption of these drugs. The extent of a potential interaction will vary from drug to drug, and even from person to person. For a guide to degree of interaction with medications by brand name, see the centers Web site at grove.ufl.edu/~ned/fdic/consu.php?interaction_category=9. Patients should consult with their pharmacist or doctor if they have any questions about their prescription medication(s). For patients taking medications known to interact with grapefruit juice, there generally are non-interacting, alternative medications that offer safe treatment with no need to discontinue drinking grapefruit juice. All studies reviewed by the center support that it is safe to consume grapefruit juice while taking over-the-counter medication.


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