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Florida Department of Citrus responds to URMC’s release on grapefruit-drug interactions


The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) is seeking clarification on allegations about grapefruit-drug interactions made without appropriate scientific support in a University of Rochester Medical Center’s press release dated January 17th. The FDOC’s first priority is the health of consumers in regards to possible interactions between grapefruit and certain drugs.

"The conclusions concerning death and pregnancy made in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s press release are not based on scientific evidence," comments Dr. Hartmut Derendorf, Distinguished Professor of the University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy. "Many scientific studies showed grapefruit interactions with some specific drugs, but I cannot find any evidence that death or pregnancy resulted from grapefruit juice."

Dr. Derendorf adds another important point: For birth control pills, grapefruit may increase the levels of some birth control components, but not decrease the effectiveness that would result in pregnancy.

The FDOC acknowledges that grapefruit juice is known to interact with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as Lipitor, but there’s no scientific evidence that the interaction leads to death.

To help share the facts about grapefruit interactions with certain affected prescription drugs, the FDOC works with leading experts, including Dr. David Greenblatt, of Tufts University School of Medicine. Important points from Dr. Greenblatt’s research include:

  • While some prescription medications may interact with grapefruit juice, MOST do not.
  • For patients who are prescribed a medication that interacts with grapefruit juice and don’t wish to comply with this restriction, there generally are non-interacting, alternative medications within each drug class that should provide the same therapeutic effect with no need to avoid grapefruit juice.
  • It is safe to consume grapefruit juice while taking any over-the counter medication.

A patient can visit the web site, to look up their prescription drug and see if it interacts with grapefruit. In addition, we encourage patients to consult with their pharmacist or doctor about their prescription medication(s). After all, food and drug interactions are not uncommon and interactions can vary by individual and prescription type.

Andrew Meadows | EurekAlert!
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