The Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Canada has studied the effects of mixing grapefruit juice with prescription drugs for decades. As recently as 2008, they had a list totaling 17 medications that shouldn't be taken with the juice. Their current findings have now upped that number to 44 drugs.
Experts explain that certain medications react adversely to grapefruit juice by processing in your body at a faster rate. While this may sound harmless, researchers say it actually creates a significant increase in the drug's potency. In some cases, the strength of certain medicines can be raised to a point equivalent to the patient getting double the dose with each pill.
Furthermore, the researchers noted that the effects of the juice and particular drugs vary in severity from patient to patient. Some drugs increased in potency, as expected, but other drugs were actually weakened - a response that could possibly render the medication useless to the person. Other symptoms found in study participants were skin rashes, dizziness, headaches, breathing troubles, and other symptoms as extreme as death.
One of the most alarming things is that a lot of the drugs on the "danger" list are common prescriptions, such as everyday cholesterol medicines like lovastatin and beta blockers like amlodipine (a heart medication). And, despite these warnings from Lawson, the general health community still hasn't given the matter due concern, thus leaving many patients in the dark about the possible dangers.
Grapefruits aren't the only citric fruit with these dangerous possibilities. Limes, Seville oranges, Minneolas, pummels, and sweeties are also chalked up to the list because they contain the natural chemical called furanocoumarins. As long as the juice is still in your stomach, the chemical stays alive in your body, making it possible to mix your prescriptions with it for a while after consuming the juice.
The research team plans to continue researching this topic, especially given the striking increase of drugs that are developed and have these serious side effects. Scarier still is that of the 27 drugs added to their list since 2008, 13 of them can potentially cause sudden death.