Grapefruit and Drug Interactions: A Comprehensive Overview
> 11/21/2006 10:49:03 AM

The November issue of Geriatrics, a peer-reviewed publication focusing on issues in medicine that effect older people, has an excellent overview of the potential pharmacological issues that arise with grapefruit consumption. Although it has been known for some time that grapefruit effects the body's response mechanisms to medication, this information still hasn't circulated as widely as it should. Geriatricss' overview, while heavy on the science and medicine, provides a great rundown of the different drugs that can be affected as well as the specifics of each.

The majority of interaction problems are caused by grapefruit's interaction with drug metabolizing enzymes, specifically the CYP 3A4 enzyme. Geriatrics explains:

Inhibition of drug metabolism by specific drugs, chemicals, or herbal medications causes increased levels of parent drug, prolonged drug activity, and an increased potential for drug toxicity. Competition for the active site on a CYP enzyme by two or more drugs can result in decreased inactivation of one of the drugs and an increase of its activity and a prolongation of its effects. This can create drug toxicity due to CYP saturation.

Those on psych medications should consult their prescribing physician or their therapist about the ramifications of grapefruit interactions as some antidepressants, like sertraline and fluoxamine, can be effected by this process. Beyond that however, virtually all classes of drugs have potential interactions and inhibitions. It is also important to note that the reactions can occur not just from eating grapefruit, but drinking grapefruit juice as well, and that the amount of grapefruit consumed often directly corresponds to the effect that it has on the system.

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