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Does Grapefruit Interact With Zoloft?

By Debra Wolf

Many people do not take into consideration common food items when researching drug interactions. Surprisingly, some healthy and seemingly innocuous foods will alter the effects of certain medications. For example, grapefruits and grapefruit juice, which are packed with hefty doses of vitamin C, are considered staples in a healthy diet, but if you take Zoloft, having a morning glass of this citrus beverage might produce undesired effects.

Zoloft

Zoloft is a medication used to treat a variety of psychological conditions. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress are examples of conditions treated with Zoloft.

Grapefruits and Zoloft

The reason grapefruits and Zoloft should not be taken together has to do with an intestinal enzyme called CYP3A4. CY3PA4 is responsible for reducing the amount of Zoloft that is absorbed into the bloodstream. A substance in grapefruits suppresses the action of this enzyme, which results in more Zoloft getting into the bloodstream than prescribed. Having abnormally high levels of Zoloft in your bloodstream might cause a dangerous reaction.

Alternatives

Try switching to another citrus fruit that does not interact with Zoloft. Most oranges are a great alternative. Tasty and vitamin C-rich, they can be enjoyed while taking Zoloft, but there are a couple varieties you should avoid. Seville oranges and tangelos contain the same suspected enzyme-interfering substance as grapefruit. If you cannot kick the grapefruit or grapefruit juice habit, talk to your doctor. Other medications that do not interact with grapefruits and that work for your condition might be available.

Warnings

Interactions can be dangerous, so it is important for you to do your homework. Always read packaging labels and inserts and talk with your doctor or pharmacist about possible drug, food, herb and supplement interactions before taking a new medication.

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