Grapefruit & Drug/Medication Interactions


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Grapefruit is known to affect the body’s absorption of certain drugs or medications. Even a small amount such as a glass of grapefruit juice, taken once a day for a few days, can cause a significant medication reaction. This occurs because compounds found in grapefruit can interfere with liver and intestinal enzymes.

Under normal circumstances, a medication’s potency is diluted in the digestive tract by specific enzymes. So, only a small portion of the medication is actually absorbed into the body.

Because grapefruit can interfere with digestive enzymes, medications can be absorbed significantly more or less than what is expected. In some situations, grapefruit can cause the body to absorb two or three times the amount of a particular medication.

According to research published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), grapefruit can cause many medication interactions. Click here to access the CMAJ research study list of medications which may be affected by grapefruit.

The following are some common types of medications and how the body may react when grapefruit causes an interaction:

  • estrogens  – breast cancer and thrombosis,
  • pain medications such as oxycodone – respiratory depression,
  • antidepressants – dizziness,
  • high blood pressure medications – heart block.

However, not all medications are affected. Click the link above to see the specific medications which might be affected by grapefruit.  It is important to discuss medication interactions with your doctor prior to taking any medication. It is also important to read all medication warnings and labels.

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