Could Drinking Grapefruit Juice Cause You to Overdose on Medication?

I've never particularly been a fan of grapefruit juice, but a new study is suggesting that patients who drink grapefruit juice and take certain common medications could be risking their lives.  It sounds a little ridiculous or alarmist, but apparently juices such as grapefruit juice contain a chemical that could combine unfavorably with certain medications.  And this chemical could cause patients death.  Or so the study says.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal is reporting 43 different medications could have potentially deadly side effects when combined with grapefruit juice.  According to the study,"Grapefruit-medication interactions: Forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences", 85 drugs in total had potentially adverse health effects overall.

How Could Grapefruit Juice Be Dangerous

According to the study, grapefruits, limes, pomelos, and seville oranges could be dangerous to patients who consume these juices with certain medications.  The reason is because these fruits contain a chemical known as furanocoumarin, which reportedly affects how some medications are absorbed in the body. As more of the medication's active chemical is absorbed into a patient's bloodstream, the following dangers could occur:

  • kidney damage
  • liver damage
  • gastrointestinal tract bleeding
  • respiratory or lung failure
  • death
It's hard to imagine that consuming a glass of fruit juice could produce such life threatening conditions.  But according to the study, these are observed reactions.

According to study researcher David Bailey, "Taking one tablet with a glass of grapefruit juice is like taking 20 tablets with a glass of water." 

Protect Your Health

Many of the popular drugs which have adverse reactions do not publish health warnings that juices such as grapefruit juice could be potentially deadly when consumed with medication.  The study names drugs such as:

  • Cholesterol drugs Zocor and Lipitor
  • Blood pressure medications Nifediac and Afditab
  • Pain relievers such as oxycodone
  • Cancer medications
  • Urinary tract medications
  • Heart medications
  • Antibiotic medications
Consult your physician to determine what may be dangerous to your health.  And if you've suffered injury taking the above medications with juice, you may want to consult a skilled personal injury lawyer as well.