COVID-19 Information: Vaccine | Testing | Self-assessment | Patient & Visitor Safety | Visitor Policy
Emergency Room Wait Times
Home > Living Well > Health Library > Grapefruit Juice and Medicines
Grapefruit juice contains chemicals that can cause problems with enzymes that break down certain types of medicines in your intestines. When a medicine does not get broken down properly in the intestines, you can have too much medicine in your blood. Having too much medicine in your blood increases your chances of having side effects.
Most medicines are not affected by grapefruit juice. And not all medicines for the health problems listed below are affected by grapefruit juice. But more than 50 medicines are affected by grapefruit juice. These can include medicines for:
If you regularly drink grapefruit juice, ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your medicines are affected by grapefruit juice. If your medicine is making you feel sick or is causing unusual or uncomfortable side effects, talk to your doctor.
All new medicines are tested for problems caused by grapefruit juice before they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medicines that are affected by grapefruit juice must have warnings in their patient information sheets. When you pick up a new medicine, your pharmacist will talk to you or give you written information about foods to avoid while taking your medicine. Some medicines may also have warnings on the "food-drug interactions" section of the bottle label.
In general, the more grapefruit juice you have, the greater the possible effects.footnote 1 It has been shown that even one glass of grapefruit juice—at any time of the day—is enough to cause certain medicines to work differently than they are supposed to.footnote 2 Sometimes the effects of one glass of juice can last up to 3 days.
In many cases, you may be able to have a glass of grapefruit juice without problems. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how much is safe for you.
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.
You can take steps to avoid problems with grapefruit juice and your medicine.
Abramowicz M (2004). Drug interactions with grapefruit juice. Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 46(1173): 2–4.
Dahan A, Altman H (2004). Food-drug interaction: Grapefruit juice augments drug bioavailability—Mechanism, extent and relevance. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 58(1): 1–9.
Pronsky ZM, Crowe JP (2012). Clinical: Food-drug interactions. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 209–228. St Louis: Saunders.
Other Works Consulted
Grapefruit (2011). In A DerMarderosian, J Beutler, eds., Review of Natural Products. St. Louis: Wolters Kluwer Health.
Prior R (2006). Phytochemicals. In ME Shils, M Shike, eds., Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed., pp. 582–594. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2011). Nutrient-drug interactions. Understanding Nutrition, 12th ed., pp. 599–603. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Current as of:
August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineTheresa O'Young PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Theresa O'Young PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.
Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.