Grapefruit juice may have an effect on statins

Grapefruit Image - Masterfile

February 14, 2011

Statins, a class of drugs that's widely used to lower cholesterol levels, are well tolerated by most people. But some statins can lead to serious health problems in people who also eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit contains one or more compounds, such as furanocoumarins, that interferes with the activity of a digestive enzyme (known as CYP3A4) that metabolizes statin drugs. Some statins don't break down in the digestive tract and can quickly build up to dangerous levels in the bloodstream.

Even as little as eight ounces of juice or one-half a grapefruit can have a negative effect.

What About Statins and Other Juices?

Most other citrus products—including oranges and orange juice, lemons, and tangerines—don't have the same effect as grapefruit has on statins (and many other drugs). A handful of reports, however, claim that limes, pomelos, and Seville oranges might interact with statins the way that grapefruit does.

If you're taking a statin (or any other medication) and you consume grapefruit, check the drug label and talk to your doctor about grapefruit drug interactions to ensure that your love of grapefruit is not endangering your health.


Drier, Jens P. "Statin-associated rhabdomyolysis triggered by grapefruit consumption." Neurology. February 24, 2004 62:670.4(3):217-227, 2001

FDA4(3):217-227, 2001

Golomb, Beatrice A. et al. "Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism." American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs. 2008; 8(6): 373–418. 4(3):217-227, 2001

"Grapefruit juice: potential drug interactions. Health and Drug Alerts," Canadian Medical Association Journal. Aug. 6, 2002; 167 (3).4(3):217-227, 2001

Ho, Ping-Cheun et al. "Inhibition of human CYP3A4 activity by grapefruit flavonoids, furanocoumarins and related compounds." Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.4(3):217-227, 2001.

Kiani, J and Iman S. "Medicinal importance of grapefruit juice and its interaction with various drugs." Nutrition Journal. 2007; 6: 33. Published online 2007 October 30. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-6-33.

Stump, Amy L. et al. "Management of Grapefruit-Drug Interactions."

American Family Physician. 2006 Aug 15;74(4):605-608.


Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 14 Feb 2011

Last Modified: 21 Jan 2015