Impact of citrus soft drinks relative to grapefruit juice on ciclosporin disposition

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Oct;62(4):485-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2005.02519.x.


Aims: A recent case report had suggested a citrus soft drink (Sun Drop) may have caused clinically relevant elevations in ciclosporin levels through a grapefruit juice-like mechanism via inactivation of intestinal cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). This study was conducted to investigate the effect of grapefruit juice and citrus sodas Sun Drop and Fresca, the latter soda containing 83-fold higher concentration of the proposed CYP3A4 inhibitor bergamottin than Sun Drop, relative to water on oral ciclosporin pharmacokinetics.

Methods: In a randomized four-way crossover study with a washout of at least 1 week, 12 healthy volunteers received a single oral dose of ciclosporin (Neoral) with Sun Drop, Fresca, grapefruit juice and water (control). Each drink (591 ml) was consumed twice on the prior day and three times on the study day. Whole blood concentrations of ciclosporin were measured up to 24 h with a fluorescence polarization immunoassay.

Results: Grapefruit juice increased area under the concentration-time curve by 186% (P < 0.0001; 95% confidence interval of mean difference 3302-6240 ng ml h(-1)) and peak concentration by 150% (P < 0.0001) of ciclosporin with a significant decrease in oral clearance of 43% (P < 0.0001) when compared with water. Neither citrus soda altered significantly ciclosporin pharmacokinetic variables; changes in mean values ranged from +/- 3 to 11% of the corresponding water value.

Conclusion: Although our results do not support a clinically relevant grapefruit juice-like interaction between oral ciclosporin and citrus constituent containing sodas Sun Drop or Fresca, an effect in the setting of chronic ciclosporin therapy cannot be ruled out.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages*
  • Citrus*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporine / metabolism*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Food-Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / metabolism*
  • Male


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine