Slideshows Images Quizzes

Copyright © 2018 by RxList Inc. RxList does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.

Statins and Grapefruit Juice

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

(generic name: atorvastatin) has been an extremely effective medication in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also effective in reducing the risk of a second heart attack.

Lipitor is generally well-tolerated, and side effects are rare. However, like all medications, it requires monitoring for side effects. Among the side effects that are routinely monitored:

A peculiar cross reaction with a specific food exists with Lipitor and other "statin" drugs used to lower cholesterol. Grapefruit juice blocks special enzymes in the wall of the small intestine that actually destroy many medications, including Lipitor, and prevents their absorption into the body. Thus, in the normal state, smaller amounts of the drugs get into the body than are ingested. When the action of these enzymes is blocked (as by grapefruit juice), more of the drugs get into the body, and the blood levels of these medications increase. This can lead to toxic side effects from Lipitor, such as liver or muscle damage.

So beware of this unusual direct link to a medication hazard with Lipitor when choosing breakfast beverages!

Reviewed by:
Robert J. Bryg, MD
Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease

CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors