If you consume grapefruit every now or then, it is unlikely to do any real harm. While that may sound oddly specific, there is a good reason why you want to steer clear of this particular fruit. One study showed that drinking a glass of grapefruit juice with simvastatin or lovastatin increased blood levels of these statins by 260%. Updated July 18, 2017. Statin drugs, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, work by blocking the enzyme that your body needs to produce cholesterol. Effects of Grapefruit Juice Consumption on Pharmacokinetics of Low Dose Simvastatin: Cross-over Study with a Review of the Literature. The introduction of statin medications has helped patients: It’s true that changing your diet and lifestyle can help bring down LDL levels, but sticking to a strict diet and exercise regimen isn’t easy. US Food & Drug Administration. Why You Shouldn’t Stop. Grapefruit Juice and Statins. “Patients often ask about grapefruit and statins — and whether they can eat the fruit or drink the juice when on statins,” he says. When statin takers eat large amounts of grapefruit, the level of statins in their blood can increase, raising the possibility of side effects. Cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD, points out that only certain statin medications interact negatively with grapefruit. Statins protect your heart by lowering "bad" cholesterol. J Food Drug Anal. The grapefruit effect. There are several studies about grapefruit and statin interaction, and recent ones suggest that moderate grapefruit consumption can be compatible with taking lovastatin and other statin drugs. Furanocoumarins are also found in other fruit (eg, pomegranates), and in vegetables (eg, parsnips and celery), however, they are especially concentrated in grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruits. In others, it can interfere with protein transporters in the blood, reducing the concentration and effect of the drug. CORONAVIRUS: UPDATED VISITOR RESTRICTIONS, INCREASED SAFETY MEASURES + COVID-19 TESTING. This warning has led to a lot of questions from people taking this type of medication. If you truly love grapefruit and can't do without it, ask your doctor about switching to another statin or lowering your dose. The effect remains the same whether you cook the grapefruit or drink frozen or homogenized juice. Summary: Grapefruit can increase the side effects of some statin cholesterol medications, causing muscle damage. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Looking to start a diet to better manage your cholesterol? We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. What You Should Know About Cardene (Nicardipine), How the Atrogin-1 Gene May Cause Muscle Pain for Statin Users, Crestor: Uses, Side Effects, Dosages, Interactions, Statin Drugs May Not Be Beneficial for Some Older Adults, What to Know Before Starting a Bile Acid Resin to Lower LDL, Chemistry and health effects of furanocoumarins in grapefruit, Basic review of the cytochrome p450 system. Eating grapefruit while taking these drugs can increase the risk of side effects. Side effects from grapefruit-statin interaction can be mild, such as muscle and joint pain. Kurata, M.; Hagiwara, H.; Ohmomo, T. et al. Bitter oranges, pomelos, tangelos, and Seville oranges contain high levels of furanocoumarin and should also be avoided. How this translates to the "safe" consumption of grapefruit remains unclear. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. When this happens, the drug concentration can increase dramatically and, with it, the risk of side effects. Grapefruit juice and some drugs don't mix. Atorvastatin interacts with grapefruit juice if you drink large quantities (more than 1.2 litres daily), but an occasional glass is thought to be safe. Policy. Severe side effects include muscle fiber breakdown and kidney failure. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Grapefruit contains compounds known as furanocoumarins that block the CYP3A4 enzymes. Currently, healthcare professionals advise it is safe to drink grapefruit juice and eat grapefruit if you're taking other types of statins. January 20, 2016. Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Hung WL, Suh JH, Wang Y. Chemistry and health effects of furanocoumarins in grapefruit. Grapefruit juice and some drugs don't mix.