Cholesterol Drugs and Grapefruit Juice


   No sensible person would routinely have a three ounce martini for breakfast. But what about a large glass of grapefruit juice every morning?

   Today millions of North Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs  (CLDs).  I've previously advised readers that CLDs in addition to lowering blood cholesterol also decrease coenzyme Q10 by as much as 40 percent. Coenzyme Q10 supplies energy to the heart. Many readers are also not aware that grapefruit juice can be hazardous when taking CLDs.  

   Dr. Dave Bailey, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, was the first to discover that grapefruit juice had the ability to increase the blood level of certain drugs. Later, Finnish researchers showed that grapefruit could increase the blood level of Mevacor, a CLD, by as much as 15 times. This effect could last for 24 hours. Seville oranges and pomelo, a predecessor of grapefruit can also cause this problem.

      High blood levels of Mevacor can trigger liver problems and a breakdown of muscle tissue, causing a condition called rhabdomyolysis resulting in kidney failure and possible death.

   Grapefruit does not affect all CLDs, but it can cause an increase in the blood level of other medication. So always check with your doctor (not me) to see if you're on a drug that could be affected by taking grapejuice day after day.