Do Post-Plastic-Surgery Drugs Interact with Grapefruit?

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas


By Sacha Obaid

Grapefruit is a subtropical citrus fruit with many varieties and sweetness levels. It is an excellent source of nutrients, including vitamin C, pectin, and the antioxidant lycopene. Grapefruit also has many health benefits. It can lower cholesterol, has antimicrobial properties, and its antioxidants may play a role in preventing cancers and in slowing down the aging process. Grapefruit can help increase the body’s fat-burning metabolism, something that has made grapefruit a popular part of many weight-loss diets.

Do post-plastic-surgery drugs interact with grapefruit? Although the fruit has many beneficial properties, it can also have negative effects on the body through harmful drug interactions.

do post-plastic-surgery drugs interact with grapefruitGrapefruit Concerns

A number of popular drugs are known to react with the enzymes in grapefruit. Grapefruit can increase the potency of certain compounds and it can inhibit or increase the absorption and subsequent behavior of a number of drugs. This can interfere with drug action, increase side effects, and lead to accidental overdose. Even small amounts contained in juice blends have been known to cause harmful drug interactions. Research has identified more than 80 drugs known to interact with grapefruit, with more continuing to be found. At least half of these have serious side-effects that can include kidney or respiratory failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and the suppression of bone marrow. It is therefore extremely important to read drug labels and heed any warnings related to grapefruit juice.

Post-Surgery Concerns

Post-surgery drugs known to react with grapefruit are of particular concern. After having plastic surgery, your body may be in a weakened condition and particularly vulnerable. In addition, interference with medications intended to promote healing can prevent the body from properly utilization of the drugs, limiting their benefits and adding to unwanted side effects. Negative interactions with grapefruit can be particularly damaging for those taking multiple medications. Some post-surgery medications that could be problematic in combination with grapefruit include:

  • Drugs to prevent blood clots after surgery, such as warfarin and amiodarone can lead to increased heart rate, increased bruising, and bleeding.
  • Immune system suppressants used after transplants, such as cyclosporine or everolimus can lead to increased absorption, higher risk of side effects.
  • Painkillers, such as fentanyl, oxycodone or ketamine can lead to increased potency and a slowdown in breathing.
  • Antibiotics that lessen the chance of infection, such as erythromycin can lead to increased potency, stomach upset, and interference with the action of other drugs.
  • Certain sedatives used in dental sedation, such as valium, Halcion, and midazolam can lead to increased potency and excessive sedation.
  • Statins that decrease cholesterol, such as lovastatin or atorvastatin can lead to increased drug absorption or reduced drug effectiveness.

There is a wide range of drugs affected by grapefruit, and potential negative consequences depend on many factors like the amount of grapefruit consumed, the length of time, the patient’s age, number of drugs combined, and medication dosage.

Consult with Your Doctor

On the other hand, grapefruit can have health benefits that promote post-surgery healing. Grapefruit can help reduce inflammation and bruising, and vitamin C helps the body regenerate collagen to promote wound healing. If you’ve had surgery, it is important to consult with plastic surgeon and your pharmacist to become familiar with potential grapefruit drug interactions before mixing grapefruit with any medications you are prescribed following your procedure. This will help you maximize potential benefits from grapefruit, while avoiding any harmful reactions.