Grapefruit is known for its abundant presence of vitamin C in them. Apart from this vitamin, this fruit contains salts such as potassium as well as a few essential nutrients that your system requires. However, the grapefruit is known to interact adversely with many drugs – if taken together. Not only juices of the fruit, but eating the fruit is also considered to trigger a few adverse interactions. It is hence a safe practice to talk to your caregiving team (including a dietitian) prior to taking this fruit.

Juices extracted from grapefruit are known to cause unintended/unwanted interactions and side effects when taken with a few meds. The US-based drug clearing agency – food and drug administration (FDA) has issued caution; it has warned about the likely consequences of taking the juice / eating the fruit along with a select set of drugs. Drugs that are considered potentially dangerous include prescription meds, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs as well as a few types of supplements / dietary aids.

Among the various types of drugs – the FDA lists antihypertensive drugs containing nifedipine as a key ingredient, a few forms of statins (meds used for controlling cholesterol levels – especially, atorvastatin, simvastatin, etc.), meds that can reduce restlessness/anxiety levels (such as buspirone), some drugs belonging to antihistamine genre, etc. You may also need to remember that not all people witness adverse interactions upon taking grapefruit or its juice. Adverse interactions may depend on a lot of factors – such as your age, gender, prior medical conditions, the quantum of juices consumed, and above all, the kind of drugs you are taking.

Can you take ibuprofen along with grapefruit juice?

The chief reason why grapefruit juice can cause adverse reactions is – that the fruit may allow more (than usual) active ingredients to get into your bloodstream. The adverse reactions are primarily due to enhanced traces of the drugs’ key chemicals; once there are more traces of such substances in your blood – undesired side effects are likely to ensue.

Drugs such as ibuprofen may undergo metabolism (breakage) with the help of enzymes in the intestine – chiefly, the small intestines. One such enzyme is CYP3A4 – an important gastric secretion. This enzyme plays a vital role in the breaking down of nonsteroidal non-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Grapefruit juice is known to inhibit the action of this enzyme. Once the normal level of CYP3A4 is interrupted – it can lead to a slowdown in the metabolic rate. As a result, drugs may not be processed but may enter directly into your blood.

When too much of active chemicals of ibuprofen (or other drugs – such as statins) are found in your blood, the risks of hepatic failure may occur. Regular users of grapefruit juice along with drugs may develop inflammation of the liver (known as hepatitis) or other acute conditions like cirrhosis of the liver etc. If you are facing frequent problems such as loss of appetite levels, indigestion, yellowing of your skin or eyes, etc., you are advised to talk to your treating doctor as quickly as you possibly can. In some cases, serious injuries may occur to your muscular tissues. In some one-off cases, damage of the kidneys have also been noticed. Early signs of potential damage to kidneys include swelling of ankles or feet, urges to pee more often, pain in your lower abdomen, etc.


Safe intake of ibuprofen

NSAID med ibuprofen is taken for the management of pains – such as muscular aches, autoimmune conditions (arthritis or joint pains), migraines, headaches as well as dental pains. The drug is also known to treat fever and symptoms of infections – such as flu / common colds. The active substances of ibuprofen block naturally available, inflammation-causing chemicals in your body. Though the drug is available as an OTC drug, it is always safe to take it under the medical supervision of a qualified clinical practitioner/caregiver.

It is usually taken orally. As its half-life is relatively less, you may be advised to take it once every six hours. It is safe to take it along with 9 ounces of water. Never take grapefruit juice, carbonated drinks like soda, or caffeine-rich liquids like coffee. Those who have prior allergies or hypersensitivity to ibuprofen are advised to take it along with a meal or with milk. In some rare cases, your caregiving team may prescribe an antacid along with ibuprofen to reduce upset of the tummy, indigestion, acid reflux, etc.

The dosage plan of ibuprofen depends on your medical condition as well as on how well your body responds to the first few doses of this drug. In order to assess the safety level of this drug, your caregiver may prescribe it in very small doses – to start with. If your body develops any adverse reactions like abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, safer alternatives are given. Your doctor may gradually increase the strength of your dosages upon ensuring the drug’s safety.

Precautions needed prior to taking ibuprofen

It is important to tell your doctor if you already have any allergies or hypersensitivity to NSAIDs such as naproxen or aspirin. Also, those who are living with (or had) respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, or any other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders (COPD) must tell their treating physician about such prior ailments.

As this drug can make you dizzy as well as drowsy, never drive or engage in tasks that may need mental focus. For example – never operate heavy machinery or adventurous sporting activities soon after taking this drug. It is not safe to take alcohol or other intoxicating drugs along with ibuprofen. Those with prior experiences of substance abuse or had been addicted to intoxicants like marijuana or cannabis must tell their caregiving team about such experiences.

In sum, NSAIDs like naproxen or ibuprofen undergo metabolism with the support of an enzyme called CYP3A4. Grapefruit juice may reduce the action of CYP3A4. Owing to this, key ingredients of the drug can get into your blood. This is the reason why your system may experience adverse side effects and unwanted reactions when this fruit is taken. Talk to your caregiver about the potential risks and follow the instructions carefully prior to adding grapefruit juice to your diet.

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