Grapefruit Juice and Zocor

It's recommended that people who take Zocor not to eat grapefruit, drink grapefruit juice, or use grapefruit supplements, because they can increase levels of Zocor in the blood. As little as one glass of grapefruit juice a day can significantly increase the levels of this medication. In rare cases, the interaction between Zocor and grapefruit can be life-threatening -- raising the risk of serious muscle problems such as myopathy or rhabdomyolysis, or even death.

Is Taking Zocor and Grapefruit Together Safe?

Like several other cholesterol-lowering statins, Zocor® (simvastatin) can potentially interact with grapefruit products, such as grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit supplements.

The Grapefruit Juice-Zocor Interaction

Grapefruit products are believed to interfere with an enzyme that is used by the body to break down Zocor. This means that when taken with grapefruit products, Zocor stays in the body longer. In fact, clinical studies have shown that grapefruit juice can significantly increase the levels of Zocor in the blood. In one clinical study, levels in the blood increased by 12-fold when Zocor was taken at the same time as large quantities of grapefruit juice. Even one glass of grapefruit juice daily can significantly increase medication levels.

What's the Risk?

People taking Zocor should not drink grapefruit juice, eat grapefruit, or use grapefruit supplements, as they can increase the levels of medication in the blood. This, in turn, can increase the chances of developing a serious muscle problem (for example, myopathy or rhabdomyolysis) that can cause the kidneys to stop working and lead to other life-threatening complications. In rare cases, this could result in loss of life.
(Click Zocor and Muscle Pain for more information.)
If you are being treated with Zocor and grapefruit juice is your preferred drink, talk to your doctor about other cholesterol medications that you can take. Several other statin cholesterol medications do not appear to interact with grapefruit juice.
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