Drug interactions with fruits


Drug interaction with natural components which are present in fruits is a major concern for both patients as well as for doctors in recent years. Studies have shown that there are number of fruits mainly in citrus family which interact with medicines causing harmful effects on patient’s body.

Drug interaction can be defined as a condition when a substance interact with a specific drug affecting the overall activity of drug when it comes in contact with it. In such situation, the activity of drug can be either increased or decreased by the action of that particular substance. When the drug activity is affected,when it comes in contact with food it is called drug-food interaction.

The major fruit from citrus family that is found to interact with number of medicines is a grapefruit. Researchers have investigated that grape fruit reacts with large number of medicines causing serious health issues from stomach bleeding to kidney problems, muscle aches and sometimes heart related problems. It was shown that the chemical present in the fruit furanocoumarins interferes with chemical which is naturally produce in humans stomach known ascytochrome P450 3A4. These furanocoumarins are produced by plant tissue as a defense mechanism against foreign particles or predators.

There are number o drugs found, that interact with grapefruit such as statins group e.g. simvastatin, lovastatin and atorvastatin which are taken for treating cholesterol problems. Antibiotic like erythromycin, quinine, primaquinine used to treat bacterial infection, drugs used for cancer treatment like crizotinib,dasatinib etc. are also found to become more potent when they come in contact with grapefruit. Hence it very crucial to consult your doctor about your diet when you take specific medicines.

Similar to grapefruit, sweet oranges (another fruit from citrus family) is also found to interact with number of medicines such as Celiprolol, lvermectin and pravastatin. It is observed that consumption of large amount sweet orange juice might decrease how much celiprolol and lvermectin is absorbed by patient’s body decreasing its effect. Whereas consumption of orange juice might increase the absorption of pravastatin level in the body increasing the side effects of the drug.

Like grapefruit and sweet orange, other fruits like pomegranate are also found to interact with specific drugs.. Some of the drugs which can interact with pomegranate juice are ACE inhibitors (benazepril, captopril,enalapril) which are used to control blood pressure, prevent heart and kidney failure, statin group (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin) used to lower cholesterol and warfarin (Coumadin) used as blood thinner.

Thus pomegranate juice may interact with some prescribed ornon-prescribed drugs making their effect stronger such as it is observed when they interact with warfarin, it can cause bleeding. Therefore it is highly recommended to take medical advice to incorporate pomegranate fruit or its extract in diet simultaneously when medicines are taken.

A single glass of any fruit can provide tremendous amount of nutrients to our body and hence successfully can be incorporated in diet for patients suffering from ailments like osteoarthritis, cancer, diabetes etc. and also found to be a perfect food for people trying to lose weight, but once should also not ignore their harmful side effects when they comes in contact with other drugs and therefore should be consumed by taking your dietitian or doctor’s recommendation only.



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