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Grapefruit Juice and Medicines - Topic Overview

What can happen if grapefruit juice affects your medicine?

The problems you may have from taking medicines that are affected by grapefruit juice depend on the kind of medicine you are taking and how your body reacts. Some problems are mild, while others are more serious. In general, older people are more likely than younger people to have serious problems.

For example, if you are taking a medicine for high blood pressure, you may develop dangerously low blood pressure. If you are taking a medicine for high cholesterol, you may develop increased side effects.

For more specific information on the kinds of health problems you could have if you drink grapefruit juice while taking a certain medicine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

How can you prevent problems?

You can take steps to avoid problems with grapefruit juice and your medicine.

  • Before you take any medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can safely drink grapefruit juice.
  • Read the labels on foods and natural health products to make sure they do not contain grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or grapefruit extract. Seville oranges (which are sometimes used in marmalade but not in orange juice), pomelos, and tangelos may also cause problems.3
  • Always read the warning labels for any medicine you are taking. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Tell your doctor if you are having unusual or uncomfortable side effects from your medicine.
  • Tell your doctor and other health professionals about all the medicines you are taking. This includes herbs, vitamins, homeopathic products, supplements, and over-the-counter medicines.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 09, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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