Grapefruit can interact with some antibiotics and cause serious side effects. Learn how to avoid this interaction. If you are taking antibiotics, you may have heard that you should avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
But why is that? And what are the consequences of mixing grapefruit with antibiotics?
Grapefruit is a delicious fruit that has many health benefits. It is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
However, it also contains compounds that can interfere with the way some antibiotics work.
These compounds can inhibit the enzymes in the liver and the intestine that are responsible for breaking down many drugs, including some antibiotics.
When this happens, more of the antibiotic stays in your bloodstream, which can increase the risk of overdose and side effects of medicine.
Which antibiotics can interact with grapefruit?
Not all antibiotics interact with grapefruit, but some of them do. According to the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the following types of antibiotics can have a negative interaction with grapefruit:
• Macrolides, such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin. These antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, mycoplasma, chlamydia, and legionella.
• Quinolones, such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and norfloxacin. These antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, and anthrax.
• Tetracyclines, such as doxycycline, minocycline, and tetracycline. These antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria such as acne, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and chlamydia.
Note: Penicillins, cephalosporins, and sulfonamides, which are also common types of antibiotics, do not seem to interact with grapefruit.
However, they can interact with other foods or substances that can affect their absorption or effectiveness.
Therefore, it is important to follow the instructions on how to take these antibiotics properly.
How to avoid grapefruit-antibiotics interaction?
The best way to avoid grapefruit-antibiotics interaction is to stop eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice if you are taking any of the antibiotics mentioned above.
This also applies to other citrus fruits that contain similar compounds, such as Seville oranges, pomelos, and limes.
You may think that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice at a different time than taking your antibiotic can prevent the interaction.
However, this is not true. The compounds in grapefruit can stay in your system for up to 24 hours and affect the metabolism of your antibiotic.
Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry and avoid grapefruit altogether if you are taking any antibiotic that can interact with it.
If you are not sure whether your antibiotic can interact with grapefruit or not, you should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before consuming it.
How to use a medications interaction checker?
Another way to stay safe when taking antibiotics is to use a medications interaction checker.
This is a tool that allows you to enter the names of the drugs you are taking and see if they have any potential interactions with each other or with certain foods or supplements.
A medications interaction checker can help you identify any possible risks or side effects of combining different drugs or substances.
It can also provide you with recommendations on how to manage these interactions or avoid them altogether.
However, keep in mind that a medications interaction checker is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
You should always consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting, stopping, or changing any medication or supplement.