Diet: Citrus fruits trigger interactions with countless medications

Diet: Citrus fruits trigger interactions with countless medications

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Grapefruits are not compatible with many medications

Grapefruits, oranges and other citrus fruits are not only healthy, but also very popular. However, what many do not know is that citrus fruits, especially grapefruits, can interfere with and interfere with various types of prescription drugs, which can have dangerous consequences. A renowned nutrition expert explains.

Katherine Zeratsky is a registered nutritionist in the well-known Mayo Clinic. She explains what to look out for when consuming citrus fruits and taking medication. Because grapefruit and some other citrus fruits like Seville oranges can cause potentially dangerous health problems if medication is taken at the same time.

How do the interactions occur?

Health problems can arise if the substances from the citrus fruit interfere with certain enzymes that ensure that a drug is broken down in the body. As a result, medication taken can either remain in the body for too short or too long. So the drug can either not have the desired effect or rock up to a dangerous level.

"Don't take these interactions lightly," Zeratsky emphasizes. Some can cause potentially dangerous health problems. If prescription medication is taken, the doctor or pharmacist should be asked about the interactions with grapefruit or other citrus products.

Delayed intake does not help

If in doubt, grapefruit and grapefruit products should be removed from the diet. Because even if the grapefruit is taken at a different time of the day than the medication, you are not protected against the potential interactions, according to the nutritionist.

Which drugs can interact?

According to Zeratsky, the list of medications that interfere with citrus fruits is long. Among them are medicines that

  • Fight infection,
  • Reduce cholesterol,
  • Treat high blood pressure,
  • be prescribed for heart problems
  • Prevent organ rejection,
  • Relieve anxiety,
  • minimize motion sickness,
  • treat erectile dysfunction,
  • Replace hormones,
  • Reduce cough,
  • Control pain.

Interaction with interaction with grapefruit juice

The German Heart Foundation confirms the dangerous combination of grapefruit and medication and even reports of a death in this context. A 29-year-old man who drank grapefruit juice daily treated his allergic runny nose with the drug terfenadine. As a result of the grapefruit juice, the concentration of the active ingredient increased 30-fold, causing his circulation to collapse and he died a few hours later. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., Mayo Clinic: Grapefruit: Beware of dangerous medication interactions (accessed: January 14, 2020),
  • Deutsche Herzstiftung: Medicines: Interactions with grapefruit juice (accessed: January 14, 2020),

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