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Death by grapefruit.

  1. Jan 31, 2010 #1
    Man am I angry. I was just perusing the instructions that come with my medicine, simvistatin, and it says I shouldn't drink more than 1 quart of grapefruit juice a day or eat large amounts of grapefruits. My doctor never mentioned this. I went on the web and found out that the interaction between simvistatin and grapefruit is dangerous in the extreme. Grapefruit blocks the action of the drug which then builds to dangerous and even fatal levels in the body. I eat one a day most days. That is, I did. Now I have to go to my doctor and explain to him why I am switching to another doctor. I'm off grapefruit for the rest of my life.
     
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  3. Jan 31, 2010 #2

    Monique

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    Grapefruit does that to many drugs. You should ALWAYS read the instructions of the drugs you are taking, you should also ALWAYS check whether the instructions have changed between uses. I'm glad you did read the package insert.
     
  4. Jan 31, 2010 #3

    lisab

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    What are you doing eating grapefruit, anyway :yuck:? Anything that you have to coat in sugar to make palatable, you shouldn't be eating.
     
  5. Jan 31, 2010 #4
    You could be ask to switch to non-statin cholesterol-lowering medication. The risk of statins and Grapefruit is very well known, your Doctor AND/OR Pharmacist should of mentioned it to you.
     
  6. Jan 31, 2010 #5
    I never put sugar on grapefruit. I love it as is. People grow it in their backyards here, and you will never taste such wonderful grapefruit as that if you're limited to store-bought.
     
  7. Jan 31, 2010 #6

    Moonbear

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    As a grapefruit lover too, I would also be inquiring about switching medications.

    Ideally, both doctor and pharmacist should have informed you of the interactions, but definitely the pharmacist should explain any common food interactions with a new prescription. I would choose a different pharmacy before choosing a different doctor.
     
  8. Jan 31, 2010 #7

    Evo

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    One of my medications supposedly can't be taken with grapefruit, it can be fatal. I drink red grapefruit juice all of the time, I'd been taking the medication and drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice almost daily for 10 years before I found out.
     
  9. Jan 31, 2010 #8
    My mother puts sugar on grapefruit, and that's how she served it to me when I was a child. But now I eat them plain, except that I don't eat them at all. After I change doctors I will ask for a substitute medicine that allows me to eat them again. As for my pharmacist, I don't have one, I get my meds in the mail.
     
  10. Jan 31, 2010 #9

    Evo

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    I've never had a doctor ask me if I eat grapefruit and they all know I take that medication.

    When you change doctors over this, don't mention that you eat grapefruit. They will ask you what meds you are on. I guarantee you that they will not ask you if you eat grapefruit. Are you going to keep searching until someone asks you about grapefruit? I'm serious.

    Are you going to get rid of the company that sends you the medication? Do they include warnings about the grapefruit with the medication?

    You would not believe how many known interactions there are that are not mentioned.
     
  11. Jan 31, 2010 #10
    The point is not what he asked me. If I said no, how would he follow up? Rather the point is that he should have told me avoid grapefruit while taking this medicine regardless of whether I had ever eaten one in the past. I can't dye my hair red because some rat died after having 5 gallons of the stuff poured down its throat, why should I be allowed to eat grapefruit? When I change doctors, I will not wait for him or her (but at my age, it will definitely be him) to ask me anything. I will make it clear to him what I expect up front. Funny thing is, when I am in the hospital I ask everyone who comes near me who I am and I don't give up until I hear my name. Most of the personel seems to be aware of what I am doing. As for my man, he did include warnings, I just didn't read them. That's my fault and won't happen again, but it does not excuse the doctor.

    Surely there is some board that oversees doctors. I have every intention of finding out tomorrow where they are and to complain about this episode.
     
  12. Jan 31, 2010 #11

    Evo

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    jimmy, have you ever had a doctor that prescribed a medication, then whipped out the drug interaction page and read it to you? It doesn't happen. I think you're over reacting.

    And your "man" with the drugs, did he slap a "don't eat grapefruit" warning label on the bottle or just include the flyer? I think you should be reporting the pharmacist, or whatever they are, that send you the drugs. It's a rare reaction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  13. Jan 31, 2010 #12
    My doctor knows all of the drugs I am taking and doesn't need to consult me concerning their interactions. This is an interaction between a drug and a food item. And a potentially fatal one.
     
  14. Jan 31, 2010 #13

    Evo

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    I'm well aware of it, like I said, I found out 3 years ago I am taking a daily medication that has a possibly fatal reaction with grapefruit, been taking them both together for over 10 years, no problems. It's very rare. I'm probably more likely to be killed by a meteor.

    Also, you just said that your doctor doesn't need to consult you about interactions, so why are you complaining?

    I can understand you being upsaet if you just read something on the internet. Do you seriously drink more than a QUART of grapefruit juice a day? Even I only have a couple of glasses.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  15. Jan 31, 2010 #14
    maybe the risk isn't that high. do you actually eat large amounts of grapefruit, or do you eat a normal amount?
     
  16. Jan 31, 2010 #15

    Evo

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    Here are the real risks of grapefruit and your medication. You can relax jimmy. Your medication seems to have the least side effects.

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0815/p605.html
     
  17. Jan 31, 2010 #16
    Well, as someone who works in a pharmacy, I know, that you should ask a pharmacist (any will do), that if you normally have a grapefruit, should you stop it cold turkey. Some meds, that will do more harm if you stop, if your body is used to it. Just ask before you do anything. If nothing else, I could inquire at my job....
     
  18. Jan 31, 2010 #17
    that last effect is pretty severe, but perhaps it isn't common
     
  19. Jan 31, 2010 #18
    I have already lodged a complaint with the Board of Medical Examiners. I will abide by their decision concerning the seriousness of this matter. However I will certainly change doctors in any case. It seems I was unclear on the following points, so I will try to amplify.

    1. Doctors are aware of interactions between one prescription drug and another and so are pharmacies. Until now, I have relied on them to avoid dangerous cocktails because they are able to do so. I will no longer, but that doesn't change the fact that the doctor controls the ingredients of the cocktail and can do the interaction matrix without telling me about it. But when it comes to interactions between prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs, or food items, the doctor cannot know what the patient is eating and cannot assume that the patient knows the interaction matrix. In my opinion they MUST tell the patient what interactions of this kind exist and I can't imagine why that isn't a no brainer. The fact, if indeed true, that it isn't commonly done does in no way molify me.

    2. I have been taking the drug for about 9 months already. Today I read the warning for the first time. It says:

    DO NOT DRINK LARGE AMOUNTS OF GRAPEFRUIT JUICE (greater than 1 quart daily) or eat large amounts of grapefruit while taking this medicine.

    Emphasis theirs. I do not drink that much juice. In fact, although I had a 4 oz. glass yesterday morning and an 8 oz. glass this morning just before I read the warning, I do not normally drink juice at all. There are good reasons to avoid fruit juices in favor of the fruit itself. I eat a grapefruit a day when I can get them, rarely two. I still don't know how many is 'large amounts'. While surfing the net looking for information I have found all manner of warnings including one that said that I should not have any grapefruit and the drug at the same time. I am not unaware that I have not been under a great danger from my behavior. My issue is not that I almost died, that is indeed ridiculous. It is that I had no clue what I was doing.

    What is more, as I implied earlier, many products are removed from the consumer market because some rat died after taking obscene amounts of it. If red dye #4 was taken off the shelf for everyone, then why wasn't grapefruit taken off the shelf for me? Let me be clear, if there is a known interaction between the drug and large amounts of grapefruit, then why wasn't a decision made at a high level to disallow the drug to be taken with any grapefruit at all? Why aren't there clear instructions telling doctors to tell their patients no grapefruits, no exceptions, no interactions, no injuries, no deaths, no lawsuits. They do it with everything else.
     
  20. Jan 31, 2010 #19

    Evo

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    I have taken a large number of medications that have side effects of "sudden death" listed.

    If we all went around fearing every possible thing that could affect us, we'd live in a 1950's fallout shelter eating only, well, even milk and eggs can kill you, so I don't know what you'd eat.

    Listen to advisories, but don't let it freak you out. Retain some common sense.
     
  21. Jan 31, 2010 #20
    yes, and it's likely the muscle cramps and pain would show up long before rhabdo. i do agree and think our OP is freaking out just a bit.
     
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