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Pomelo = grapefruit?

Peter Apr 4, 2003 05:14 PM

I know they are different. I love the pomelo (pommelo) but I am taking a drug that won't allow me to eat grapefruit at the same time. Does Pomelo have similar chemicals that interacts with my system the same way as a grapefruit?

Don't tell me to ask my doctor. Doctors have no idea what a pomelo is.

  1. c
    catie Apr 4, 2003 08:30 PM

    Hi- this is a great question. In all my years as a pharmacist and drug metabolism scientist (no kidding), this question has never come up. I would agree with the previous poster-- avoid the pommelo, but other citrus fruits (oranges and lemons etc.) are okay.

    And for the other science geeks out there, the offending compound is called bergamottin, and is concentrated mostly in the skin of the grapefruit, but some is contained in the juice as well (higher levels are found in commercially "pressed" juices than in home squeezed juice). The drug interaction occurs because the bergamottin inhibits an enzyme in the intestines that metabolizes CERTAIN drugs and more drug can enter the body in a person that consumes grapefruit juice. This can result in higher than expected levels of medication in the body. The enzyme inhibition can last a while, so the interaction persists even if the medication is taken several hours after the grapefruit juice. And there you have it...

    6 Replies
    1. re: catie
      Kirk Apr 4, 2003 08:39 PM

      Since the offending chemical is bergamottin, does this mean that people taking Zocor and related statins should also avoid Earl Grey tea, which gets its unique flavor from oil of bergamot, I believe.

      1. re: Kirk
        Lester Apr 5, 2003 10:18 PM

        Is that why they call it Pommie tea?

        1. re: Lester
          catie Apr 7, 2003 02:42 PM

          There's no data out on a possible drug interaction with Earl Grey tea. I'd always heard that a bergamot was closer to a lime than a grapefruit, so my totally non-scientific guess is that it's probably okay. Also, there's not all that much oil of bergamot in a pot of tea, as compared to a big tumbler full of grapefruit juice.

          And as to that "Pommie tea"... not sure if that was a joke, but there's a far more tongue-in-cheek reason why it's called "POMmie tea"..

      2. re: catie
        Donna - MI Apr 4, 2003 09:40 PM

        Re the grapefruit juice effect on certain drugs: are you talking about those for hypertension? If so, does this apply both to calcium channel blockers (my husband takes verapamil) or beta blockers (I take Inderal)?

        We both love grapefruit juice but don't want to screw up our medications. THANKS! D.

        1. re: Donna - MI
          Deb Van D Apr 5, 2003 10:37 AM

          Your drug label will tell you very clearly if grapefruit juice is to be avoided.

          1. re: Donna - MI
            nja Apr 7, 2003 06:28 PM

            I know for certain that you should NOT drink grapefruit juice with Verapamil.

            Link: http://www.mycustompak.com/healthNote...

        2. t
          the rogue Apr 4, 2003 06:00 PM

          The grapefruit is descended from Pomelo and (possibly) Citron. So if you have allergies to grapefruit you should probably stay away from Pomelo.

          1 Reply
          1. re: the rogue
            Peter Apr 4, 2003 06:20 PM


            But thanks anyway.

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