Is it true that grapefruit products can interfere with medications? | Characteristics

DEAR DR. ROACH: For many years I have heard that grapefruit products interfere with the medications one takes. Is that still true, if ever it was? I am currently taking thyroxine daily and an antihypertensive, amlodipine. I love grapefruit juice, so I’m worried. — DP

RESPONNSE: Grapefruit juice reduces the activity of an enzyme called cytochrome P 3A4, which metabolizes and detoxifies many drugs. In the case of your blood pressure medication, amlodipine (Norvasc), the effect is to make the medication a little more effective — the drug levels are about 15% higher. However, blood pressure levels are almost exactly the same in people who took their amlodipine with grapefruit juice compared to those who just drank water. Other medications have their levels decreased by grapefruit juice, such as fexofenadine (Allegra), an allergy medication.

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