Eating grapefruits can literally kill you. Doctors have long warned that eating the popular fruit can cause some medicines to work improperly, leading to overdoses and ultimately death. The fruit is known to cause overdoses of some drugs by stopping them from breaking down in the liver and intestines.
Now a group of researchers have released a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that highlights the true dangers of the grapefruit.
Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute in Canada were the same group who discovered the grapefruit connection in 2008. While the group’s initial discovery found 17 drugs that interact poorly with grapefruit consumption, they have now increased that number to 43 drugs.
Drugs affected by grapefruit consumption include blood pressure medication, cancer and cholesterol-lowering statins, and immune system drugs used after transplants.
According to researchers, the chemical furanocoumarins effectively wipes out a specific enzyme that is needed to break affected drugs down.
When studying the blood pressure drug felodipine, researchers found levels three times higher than expected after patients took the drug alongside a grapefruit.
The group also found that eating a grapefruit with certain drugs led to stomach bleeds, altered heart beat, kidney damage, and sudden death.
In a scary part of the report, the researchers noted:
“We contend that there remains a lack of knowledge about this interaction in the general health care community.”
The group added:
“Unless health care professionals are aware of the possibility that the adverse event they are seeing might have an origin in the recent addition of grapefruit to the patient’s diet, it is very unlikely that they will investigate it.”
The group of researchers is asking pharmacy technicians to warn prescription drug takers about the dangers of grapefruit juice and other grapefruit consumption while taking prescription medicines.