Objectives: To determine whether unprocessed grapefruit can cause a drug interaction, whether the active ingredients are naturally occurring, and whether specific furanocoumarins or flavonoids are involved.
Methods: The oral pharmacokinetics of felodipine and its dehydrofelodipine metabolite were determined after administration of felodipine 10 mg extended-release tablet with 250 mL commercial grapefruit juice, homogenized grapefruit segments, or extract of segment-free parts equivalent to one unprocessed fruit or water in a randomized four-way crossover study. Inhibition of recombinant CYP3A4 by furanocoumarins (bergamottin, 6',7'-epoxybergamottin, 6',7'-dihydroxybergamottin) and flavonoids (naringenin optical isomers) was determined. Furanocoumarin and naringenin precursor (naringin) concentrations were measured in each grapefruit treatment.
Results: Felodipine AUC with commercial grapefruit juice, grapefruit segments, or grapefruit extract was on average 3-fold higher than that with water. Felodipine peak concentration was higher, but the half-life was unchanged. The dehydrofelodipine/felodipine AUC ratio was reduced. The furanocoumarins produced mechanism-based and competitive inhibition of CYP3A4. Bergamottin was the most potent mechanism-based inhibitor. Naringenin isomers produced only competitive inhibition. Bergamottin, 6',7'-dihydroxybergamottin, and naringin concentrations varied among grapefruit treatments but were sufficient to inhibit markedly in vitro CYP3A4 activity.
Conclusions: Unprocessed grapefruit can cause a drug interaction with felodipine. The active ingredients are naturally occurring in the grapefruit. Bergamottin is likely important in drug interactions with commercial grapefruit juice. 6',7'-Dihydroxybergamottin and naringin may be more important in grapefruit segments because they are present in higher concentrations. Any therapeutic concern for a drug interaction with commercial grapefruit juice should now be extended to include whole fruit and possibly confectioneries made from grapefruit peel.