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Grapefruit and Zocor don't mix.

New research published in the medical journal Neurology suggests that eating a grapefruit each morning may have triggered a serious side effect in a 40-year-old woman taking the popular anti-cholesterol drug Zocor. Study authors note that similar drugs known as statins could also be influenced by grapefruit consumption.

The woman had been on Zocor for more than two years and was apparently healthy until 10 days prior to being admitted to the hospital with lower-extremity weakness. Laboratory findings suggested rhabdomyolysis--a rare but serious side effect of statin drugs involving muscle breakdown and kidney problems. Further questioning about potential triggers revealed she had been eating one grapefruit daily for two weeks before her admission.

Grapefruit contains a chemical that inactivates a liver enzyme involved in the metabolism of Zocor and other drugs. As a result, regular consumption of the fruit can lead to excessively high blood levels of the drug.

The investigators advise that patients taking Zocor and most other statins should be advised not to eat grapefruit. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are also known to interact with Plendil Extended-Release tablets and Procardia (calcium-channel-blockers), Premarin (a hormone preparation), and Xanax (for anxiety and panic), according to the 2004 Physicians' Desk Reference Companion Guide.
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Title Annotation:Neighborhood Heart Watch
Publication:Medical Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
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