Question for Betty.

Can grapefruit really effect birth control?  If so, how much does it take to make it a big deal?

Betty's Answer.

Grapefruit can be a potential problem, in that it can interact adversely with certain medications, including those with hormones.  Researchers believe that compounds in grapefruit juice suppress an intestinal enzyme that processes medications by means of the CYP3A4 system.  Commercially processed grapefruit juice, fresh grapefruit, and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice may all increase the levels of estrogens, up to 30%, by decreasing their metabolism. This is also true for certain drugs prescribed for heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, antihistamines, antibiotics, psychoactive drugs, among others.  It is recommend they these drugs should not be taken for several hours before and several hours after consuming grapefruit, if at all.  If you are consuming grapefruit in any form, it may be wise to consume it at a time that you are not taking your OCPs.  For example, if you take your OCPs in the morning, have a 4 oz. glass of grapefruit juice in the evening, or if you take your OCPs at bedtime, have a 4 oz. glass of grapefruit juice later in the morning, or half a fresh grapefruit.