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Grapefruit Interacts With Tegretol and Lipitor

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Q. With grapefruit in season, I am worried that my son's anticonvulsant medicine may interact since he loves it. Paradoxically, too much Tegretol caused him to have seizures last summer. Once the dose was lowered from 800 mg to 600 mg, he did much better. Would grapefruit affect his medication and cause a problem?

A. Grapefruit can boost blood levels of Tegretol (carbamazepine) significantly. This would be comparable to a higher dose and might put him at risk of seizures once again.
It is not always necessary for patients to give up on grapefruit completely. We received the following inquiry:

"My wife and I are both on Lipitor. We live in central Florida and have a good-sized grapefruit tree in the back yard. It yields bushels of very delicious pink grapefruit each year that are so sweet they don't require sugar.

"Last week I asked my doctor if there was another medication that I could take for cholesterol that would not react with grapefruit. She said, 'I don't know, ask your pharmacist.' I did and his answer was, 'I don't know.' Do you know?"

Unlike Lipitor, Pravachol is a cholesterol-lowering drug that does not interact with grapefruit. There are also some anti-seizure medicines that are safe with grapefruit. Discuss alternatives with your doctor.

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6 Comments

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There is research under way, I'm told, to quantify the effects of grapefruit on certain medications. If successful, you might be able to substitute a glass of grapefruit juice for an $8 pill. Of course, Big Pharma will ensure that it has to be an FDA-approved glass of grapefruit juice sold by Big Pharma. Backyard grapefruit trees will be hunted down by a new branch of narc squads. Enjoy them while you can.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE DETECT A TONGUE IN THE CHEEK HERE. THERE IS NO CHANCE THAT BACKYARD GRAPEFRUIT TREES ARE IN DANGER. THERE IS ALSO LITTLE LIKELIHOOD THAT GRAPEFRUIT JUICE WILL BE SUBSTITUTED FOR MEDICATION (ALTHOUGH SOME ISRAELI RESEARCH A FEW YEARS AGO SHOWED THAT RED GRAPEFRUIT CAN HELP CONTROL CHOLESTEROL). PEOPLE WHO LOVE GRAPEFRUIT MAY BE ABLE TO ASK THE DOCTOR FOR A PRESCRIPTION THAT DOES NOT INTERACT. THAT MAY NOT BE AN OPTION, HOWEVER, FOR SOMEONE WHO NEEDS TEGRETOL TO CONTROL SEIZURES.

I take Diovan and my blood pressure will spike. Any solution?

I find it disturbing that the doctor and the pharmacist made no effort to answer the patient's question. If they don't know that then how are the competent to prescribe or dispense these drugs? Shame on both of them... or their lawyers.

I have been on Zocor for the past 10 plus years. Taking no more then 32 oz of grapefruit per day is OK, (Went on line and found this info out) Also I only take 20 mg of Zocor every other day and my overall number is 161.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THIS IS WHAT THE PRESCRIBING INFORMATION SAYS. ONE MIGHT NOT WANT TO PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT.

How about Gabapentin ?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: SO FAR AS WE KNOW, GABAPENTIN AND GRAPEFRUIT DO NOT INTERACT.

Wondering what is the reaction or interaction when one takes Lipitor and eats grapefruit. My sister does it occasionally and doesn't have a reaction but also hasn't had her cholesterol checked lately either.

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