Statin drugs, such as Lipitor and Zocor, work to lower bad cholesterol levels in the body. But some patients are unhappy with a particular side effect of these drugs--the inability to consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice because of a dangerous interaction between the fruit and the drugs that boosts the levels of the drug in the blood. While some may consider giving up grapefruit to be a small price to pay for their health, those that wish to consume grapefruit can follow some steps to do so safely.
Talk to your doctor. The easiest way to eat grapefruit and take a statin is to switch medications to a statin that is absorbed into the body in a different way. According to Dr. Thomas Lee, editor in chief for Harvard Heart Letter, prevastatins such as Pravachol or Crestor achieve cholesterol-lowering results without being affected by grapefruit. Consult with your doctor to see if this option is available for you.
Take your vitamins. Instead of taking an expensive prescription drug, try taking the vitamin, niacin, which is safe to combine with grapefruit. In a study conducted by the University of Maryland, niacin helped boost the levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol. Statins work in a different way-lowering the bad, or LDL, cholesterol levels. Health-heart.org also recommends niacin as a replacement for statins. Talk to your doctor before making any adjustments to your medication, as niacin may not suitable for all patients.
Determine your statin's daily dose. According to Dr. Lee, if you are taking a low dose of your statin, a small glass of juice or half a grapefruit is fine to eat. Do not consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice if you are taking a high dose of statin drugs.
Tips & Warnings
- Talk to your doctor before consuming grapefruit while taking statin drugs.