White, pink and ruby ​​red varieties of grapefruit provide a spicy, flavored juice that many people enjoy. Using juice to take pills is a common practice, but medical research has shown that grapefruit juice is not a wise choice for taking certain medicines because it can lead to dangerous levels of the medicine in your body. Paracetamol is another name for paracetamol and the absorption rate of the drug is influenced by grapefruit juice.

The habit of grapefruit juice

The interaction between grapefruit juice and medication was unintentionally discovered when the juice was used to mask the taste of ethanol in a drug experiment from 1989. Ten years later, the journal "Experimental and Toxicological Pathology" reported a study in which mice spent 10 days or small amounts of grapefruit juice before an experiment with paracetamol, or a single, larger dose 90 minutes prior to taking paracetamol. The researchers discovered that prolonged intake of grapefruit juice had a greater effect on paracetamol than a single dose.

Experimental proof

The "Journal of Medicinal Food" published a 2008 study that registered the effect of grapefruit juice on the absorption of acetaminophen in mice. Two hundred microliters of white or pink grapefruit juice was fed to mice, followed by 10, 50 or 100 mg / kg of acetaminophen for one hour. The acetaminophen concentration in the mice was tested after one and two hours. It was noted that white grapefruit juice caused an increase in acetaminophen in the mice after one hour, while pink grapefruit juice caused an increase after two hours.

Grapefruit juice and drug interactions

The rate at which a drug taken is metabolized is usually reflected in the recommended dosage and prescribed frequency. The amount of medicine in the blood can be changed if the medicine is metabolized differently than expected. Grapefruit juice inhibits the cytochrome P-450 3A4 enzyme system in the gut that controls the first phase of metabolism for some drugs. It is also thought to inhibit the P-glycoprotein pump in the intestinal wall that transports substrates for this enzyme system. Both situations lead to an increased concentration of the medicine in your blood, which can be dangerous. Scientific evidence suggests that acetaminophen or acetaminophen is one of the drugs affected by grapefruit juice.


Several research groups have reported that grapefruit juice is beneficial in treating and preventing a range of medical conditions, including atherosclerosis and cancer, making it an attractive drink choice for many people. As the scientific evidence suggests that this juice may interact with your medication, it may be wiser to choose a different lubricant to facilitate the passage of your paracetamol or other pills in your throat. Research shows that white grapefruit juice appears to have a more direct effect on paracetamol concentration than pink grapefruit juice, therefore pink grapefruit juice may be less problematic when using this medication. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure about the interaction between your food and medication.

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