FEB 02, 2016 01:46 PM PST

Why Grapefruit and Medicines Don't Mix

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

A freshly squeezed glass of grapefruit juice can be a healthy way to jumpstart your day. But if you're taking medicines along with your breakfast, you may want to forgo that bittersweet grapefruit juice and opt for OJ instead.

As it turns out, grapefruit juice contains an organic chemical known as furanocoumarin. This chemical can interfere with the activity of enzymes and transporters in the small intestine that metabolize your medications. Washing down pills with grapefruit juice can cause your body to absorb too much or too little of certain medicines, potentially causing serious problems.

The FDA currently lists more than 50 prescription and over-the-counter drugs that have negative interactions with grapefruit. Common drugs on this list include medicines for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and anxiety. So check the labels on your pill bottles for grapefruit contraindications. When in doubt, water, though not so tasty, is a safe option.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
These Young Seabirds Must Learn to Fly or be Eaten by Sharks
These young albatrosses must learn the official rules of ‘survival of the fittest.’ Once big enough, they will need to become as adept at flyin...
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
Watch a Young Chimpanzee Fall in Love With a Spy Tortoise
Animals can be wary of human presence in their natural habitat, so much so that they’ll often flee the scene, preventing scientists from gathering da...
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
Younger Wolves Help Their Elders Grab a Bite to Eat
Wolves work together in the wild to ensure the survival of the rest of their pack, and this includes their elders. Whenever one wolf finds food, it will in...
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
Watch a Hungry Polar Bear Respond to an Opportunity to Eat
Polar bears necessitate lots of food to ensure their long-term survival, but many times, hunting prey isn’t easy. It’s estimated that one in tw...
NOV 12, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2019
These Hippos Have Found a Naturally Existing Spa
Hippos are large and captivating creatures; in fact, they can be so hazardous that researchers keep a safe distance, deploying spy cameras in their place t...
NOV 12, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 12, 2019
Diagnosed With Atopic Dermatitis?
Eczema, dermatitis, atopic dermatitis: all names for the same disease of the skin. Although common in children during the first year of life, the condition...
Loading Comments...