Background: Grapefruit juice can increase the oral bioavailability of a broad range of medications. This interaction has not been assessed in the elderly.
Methods: Twelve healthy elderly people (70 to 83 years of age) were administered 5 mg felodipine extended release with 250 mL grapefruit juice or water in a single-dose study. Subsequently, 6 of these people received 2.5 mg felodipine for 2 days, followed by 5 mg felodipine for 6 days with 250 mL grapefruit juice or water in a steady-state study. Plasma concentrations of felodipine and dehydrofelodipine metabolite, blood pressure, and heart rate were measured over 24 hours after single and final steady-state dose.
Results: Mean felodipine area under the curve and maximum concentration were 2.9-fold and 4.0-fold greater, respectively, with grapefruit juice in both studies. Interindividual variability in the extent of the interaction was high. Felodipine apparent elimination half-life was not altered. Dehydrofelodipine area under the curve and maximum concentration were increased and dehydrofelodipine/felodipine area under the curve ratio was reduced. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lower with grapefruit juice in the single-dose study, whereas they were not different between treatments in the steady-state study. Curvilinear relationships existed between plasma felodipine concentration and changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Heart rates were higher with grapefruit juice in both studies; however, this effect was greater and more prolonged at steady state.
Conclusions: A normal dietary amount of grapefruit juice produced a pronounced, unpredictable, and sustained pharmacokinetic interaction with felodipine by reducing its presystemic metabolism in the elderly. The different blood pressure results between the studies can be explained by felodipine concentration-blood pressure response relationships. The elderly should be particularly cautioned about concomitant grapefruit juice and felodipine ingestion.