According to Canadian researchers, combining common prescription drugs with grapefruit juice can be a deadly combination. In the past four years, 26 new drugs were added to a list of those that may become harmful, bringing the group up to 43. However, there are over 85 drugs that interact with grapefruit, although some of these do not have serious consequences.
Thirteen drugs may become lethal when mixed with grapefruit juice, including the heart medication Multaq (dronedarone). This drug taken with grapefruit juice can cause tachycardia, or a rapid heart rhythm. Oxycodone and grapefruit may cause breathing problems, while Zocor (simvastatin) may cause a breakdown of muscle fibers leading to kidney damage, called rhabdomyolysis.
The Problem with Combining Grapefruit and Drugs
According to researchers, grapefruit has an organic chemical compound, as do other citrus fruits, called furanocoumarins. This can interfere with a digestive enzyme called CYP3A4, which helps to metabolize toxic substances to keep them from entering the bloodstream. When furanocoumarins inhibits the enzyme, drugs can become concentrated beyond safe dosages in the system. In some cases it can be so concentrated that it’s like getting a triple or quadruple dose of the medication.
Although the grapefruit-drug connection has been known for at least two decades, the number of adverse effects grows every year.
If you have become ill due to the side effect of a drug you have been taking, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area today.