MINNEAPOLIS - Medical experts have known for years that some citrus, specifically grapefruit, can interfere with some medications.
But it appears the danger is growing.
A new study finds the list of drugs affected is growing and some are incredibly popular.
In so many ways grapefruit is good for us, but consume it while taking specific drugs and the combination could be deadly.
New research in the Canadian Medical Association Journal said the number of drugs that should not be combined with grapefruit have jumped from 17 to 85 in recent years.
The list includes common drugs like Lipitor, Zocor, Plavix and Oxycodone. It also includes drugs for cancer patients and transplant recipients.
Jean Moon is a University of Minnesota clinical pharmacist who sees patients at Broadway Family Medicine Clinic in Minneapolis. She said, "Unfortunately most patients aren't aware of it."
She continued, "Some of the medications can cause renal failure some can cause muscle breakdown as well."
Researchers said some can cause sudden death.
Grapefruit, limes, pomelos and Seville oranges should all be avoided. Those citrus fruits produce compounds called furanocoumarins that can prevent a digestive enzyme from breaking down the drugs properly, leading to high concentrations and possible overdose.
Those on one of the medications maybe decide that just having a little grapefruit juice is okay and that eating grapefruit hours after taking medication will be alright. But researchers say no. None of the named fruits should be consumed.
Moon said, "You could still have some interaction or some increased level of the drug."
The good news is that you can still eat lemons and regular oranges, like navel oranges, with these medications. They don't produce furanocoumarins. So there's no need to eliminate citrus fruits altogether.
Moon suggests you speak with your doctor or pharmacist about possible drug and grapefruit interactions.
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