30 October, 2011
What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
- PubMed Health: Atorvastatin
- PubMed Health: Atorvastatin
- MayoClinic.com: Grapefruit Juice -- Beware of Dangerous Medication Interactions
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Blood Oranges & Lipitor
A blood orange has dark red flesh and a sweet flavor. Like other varieties of oranges, blood oranges are citrus fruits. Atorvastatin, known as the brand Lipitor, is a prescription medication for preventing and treating heart disease. Lipitor may negatively interact with grapefruit and certain other citrus fruits, and doctors recommend not eating these particular fruits or drinking their juice when taking Lipitor.
Lipitor decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with heart disease or at risk of developing the condition. Lipitor also lowers cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels. High cholesterol and triglyceride levels can lead to a buildup of these fats on the interior walls of blood vessels, where the accumulation hardens into plaque. This reduces blood flow to the heart and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack.
Grapefruit and Lipitor
Research has shown that grapefruit disrupts the metabolism, or breakdown, of many medications, according to an article published in the August 15, 2006 issue of "American Family Physician." This can increase the risk of negative effects and lead to toxicity. Grapefruit may reduce the intestinal concentration of an certain enzyme by nearly 50 percent, the authors report. This enzyme is essential for breaking down Lipitor and other statin drugs. For many years, doctors have recommended avoiding grapefruit while taking statins, but a study sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus and published in the "British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology" in 2011 found only an insignificant interaction between grapefruit and Lipitor and no negative effects.
The citrus fruit pomelo as well as Seville oranges, known as bitter orange, also may interfere with the metabolism of Lipitor, according to MayoClinic.com. The website does not list other citrus fruits, such as blood oranges, as having a negative interaction with Lipitor. Patients taking the medication may substitute other citrus fruits for grapefruit, Seville oranges and pomelo, notes the website.
While Lipitor doesn't interact with blood oranges, it does interact with many over-the-counter supplements and medications, and a large number of prescription drugs. An interaction might increase or decrease the effectiveness or side effects of either substance. Talk with your doctor about any other substance you consider adding to your health regimen if you take Lipitor. Examples of those you may need to avoid include pectin, black cohosh, niacin supplements, fish oil, certain antacids and certain pain relievers.
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images