Many times we hear from our parents or some elders not to have grapefruit juice if you are taking any cholesterol medications. This is not the only combination of food and drugs which should be avoided, there are so many other combinations too. Grapefruit juice can react with other medications too and similarly many other foods can interact with drugs too.
Steve Plogsted, BS, PharmD, BCNSP, CNSC, clinical pharmacist with Nutrition Support Service of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, tells us about the most commonly reactive five foods that react with other medications. So let’s discuss these foods.
1. Grapefruit Juice
“Grapefruit juice has the ability to interact with medications in numerous ways,” says Plogsted. One way is to increase the absorption of certain drugs, this is the case with some cholesterol-lowering statins but not with all sort of drugs. MedinePlus recommends you not to have grapefruit juice if you are taking any sort of cholesterol lowering medications.
Grapefruit juice can also be the reason to metabolize drugs abnormally in your body, which can affect your blood levels and can increase or lower the normal blood levels of the drugs. There are many other medications which can affect in this way that includes antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, thyroid replacement drugs, birth control, stomach acid-blocking drugs, and the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. So the best way to reduce such negative effects on the body is to avoid or reduce the intake of grapefruit juice when you are taking such medications.
Grapefruit juice can also cause the body to metabolize drugs abnormally, resulting in lower or higher than normal blood levels of the drug. Many medications are affected in this way, including antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, thyroid replacement drugs, birth control, stomach acid-blocking drugs, and the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. It’s best to avoid or significantly reduce intake of grapefruit juice when taking these medications.
Now the question which arises in everyone’s mind is why only grapefruit juice has such negative effects and no other citrus juices?
According to Plogsted, grapefruit juice contains a class of compounds which are called as furanocoumarins, which react in the body and changes the effects of the medicines whereas orange juice and other citrus juices does not have such compounds which alter the characteristics of these medications but there exists some concern for Serville oranges and the pummelo, which are the relatives of the grapefruit and act likewise.