Although citrus fruits are at their peak flavor right now, it’s important to remember that some fruits, including grapefruit and Seville oranges, can interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications and cause serious health problems.
Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C which plays a role in immune function as well as potassium, which may reduce the risk of stroke, lower blood pressure and protect against the loss of muscle mass.
But according to the Mayo Clinic, commonly prescribed drugs used to fight infection, reduce cholesterol, treat high blood pressure, treat heart problems and prevent organ rejection in transplant patients, can interact with citrus products, altering how they are metabolized. Some antihistamines, such as Allegra, which contain fexofenadine may also interact with grapefruit juice.
Chemicals in the fruit may cause some medications to break down too quickly to be effective or remain in the system too long, creating the potential for a harmful buildup to occur. Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any and all possible drug side-effects and interactions. Read labels carefully; some citrus-flavored drinks or marmalades may include grapefruit juice or Seville oranges in their ingredients.
In some cases, there may be an alternative medication available that will not interact with grapefruit and other citrus foods. Be sure to read the drug facts label on all over-the-counter medications as well as the medication guide and patient information sheet that comes with your prescription drugs.
To learn more about how grapefruit juice may interact with your medication, visit the Food and Drug Administration website by following this link.