Warnings expand on medications and grapefruit interaction

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Updated: 11/28/2012 9:16 am Published: 11/27/2012 9:34 pm

New research finds that the number of prescription medications that interact with grapefruit is on the rise.

The combination of the two can create a fruit cocktail with more medication than your body needs.

A study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports there are now 43 prescriptions medications on the market that interact negatively with grapefruit.

Chris Schiller, a pharmacist at Economy Pharmacy in Tulsa, says one glass of grape fruit juice can increase the amount of statin drug in your body by close to fifty percent.

“That means there is more in your body that your body can’t metabolize and get rid of,” said Schiller.

Schiller says some of the items on the list include medication commonly used to lower cholesterol like Zocor and Lipitor.

Schiller told FOX23 that he has to go over the warning with customer all of the time because the needs for those types of medications is greater in Green Country.

“Due to the health of Oklahomans a lot of us are on cholesterol medication and a lot are on blood pressure medication,” said Schiller, “They are pretty much the most commonly dispenses medications and so all of the time we council people on how it interacts with grapefruit juice.”

According to the FDA, Many drugs are broken down (metabolized) with the help of a vital enzyme called CYP3A4 in the small intestine. Certain substances in grapefruit juice block the action of CYP3A4, so instead of being metabolized, more of the drug enters the bloodstream and stays in the body longer. The result: potentially dangerous levels of the drug in your body.

For instance, if you were on a prescription relaxant like Valium you could potentially be affected by combing the medication with grapefruit juice.

“You could end up more relaxed so it would be more dangerous for you to drive or something like that,” said Schiller.

A high concentration of medication in the body can lower blood pressure, be toxic to the kidneys, lead to G.I. tract bleeding or respiratory failure.

Grapefruit is loaded with immune boosting vitamin C and drinking it occasionally won’t cause any serious damage but Schiller cautions against making it a daily habit.

"It you eat it on an every day basis then it is going to affect the amount of medication that your body is not metabolizing or getting rid of,” said Shiller.

If you have questions about your current prescriptions contact your pharmacist or physician.

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