Pomelo...the Asian grapefruit dilemma (Medication interactions)

Pomelos are considered a very auspiscious fruit to most Chinese people. During major celebrations, the fruit is often used as offering to the gods, and also as gifts when visiting friends and relatives.

This is big problem for most pomelo lovers on chronic medication, as pomelo is a fruit rich in furanocoumarin, the component also found in Grapefruit, a popular fruit in western countries.

If you read most medication labels, you may come across the sentence "Do not take this medicine with grapefruit juice". This is because grapefruit has been well studied in western medicine, and is know to cause problems to almost 50% of medication in the market.

So what's the connection with grape fruit and Pomelos?

Georgetown Pharmacy Pomelo Drug interactions

Most people don't know that grapefruit is a product of cross breeding between oranges and pomelos. While not all breeds within the citrus fruit family causes problems, Pomelos stand out together with grapefruits. This is because both contain very high amounts of furanocoumarin. Oranges on the other hand is safe to be consumed.

The effects of Pomelo/grapefruit juice can be explained using the diagram below:

 

In short, taking pomelos can and will affect most medication, even if you do not take it at the same time as your medication. This prompts us to strongly discourage the intake of pomelos if you are on medication. Better safe than sorry!