Cholesterol Home > Grapefruit Juice and Vytorin
Studies have shown and grapefruit juice and Vytorin should not be combined. Grapefruit products seem to interfere with an enzyme that is used by the body to break down simvastatin (a component of Vytorin), which causes the drug to stay in the body longer than intended. If you regularly drink grapefruit juice and want to continue this, ask your healthcare provider about other cholesterol-lowering medications.
Like several other cholesterol-lowering statins, grapefruit products, such as grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or grapefruit supplements, can potentially interact with Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin).
Grapefruit products, including grapefruit juice, are believed to interfere with an enzyme found in the digestive tract that breaks down much of simvastatin (one of the components of Vytorin) before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that when taken with grapefruit products, much more simvastatin is absorbed, leading to increased levels of the medication in the blood. In fact, clinical studies have shown that grapefruit juice can significantly increase the levels of simvastatin in the blood. In one clinical study, drug levels in the blood increased by almost four-fold when Zocor was taken with a 200-mL glass of grapefruit juice three days in a row.
People on Vytorin should not drink grapefruit juice, eat grapefruit, or use grapefruit supplements because it can increase the levels of Vytorin in the blood. This, in turn, can increase the chances of developing a serious muscle problem (myopathy or rhabdomyolysis), which can cause the kidneys to stop working and lead to other life-threatening complications, including, in rare cases, loss of life (see Vytorin and Muscle Pain).
If you are being treated with Vytorin and grapefruit juice is your preferred drink, talk to your doctor about other cholesterol medications that you can take. Several of the statin cholesterol medications do not appear to interact with grapefruit juice.