Food-drug interaction: grapefruit juice augments drug bioavailability--mechanism, extent and relevance

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jan;58(1):1-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601736.


More than a decade has passed since it was unintentionally discovered that grapefruit juice interacts with certain drugs. The coadministration of these drugs with grapefruit juice can markedly elevate drug bioavailability, and can alter pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters of the drug. The predominant mechanism for this interaction is the inhibition of cytochrome P-450 3A4 in the small intestine, resulting in a significant reduction of drug presystemic metabolism. An additional mechanism is, presumably, the inhibition of P-glycoprotein, a transporter that carries drug from the enterocyte back to the gut lumen, resulting in a further increase in the fraction of drug absorbed. Some calcium channel antagonists, benzodiazepines, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and cyclosporine are the most affected drugs. A single exposure to one glass of the juice can usually produce the maximal magnitude of the interaction. The data available so far, concerning this interaction and its clinical implications, are reviewed in this article. It is likely that more information regarding this interaction will accumulate in the future, and awareness of such is necessary for achieving optimal drug therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Beverages*
  • Biological Availability
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Agents / metabolism
  • Citrus paradisi / chemistry
  • Citrus paradisi / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Food-Drug Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects
  • Pharmacokinetics


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Central Nervous System Agents
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A