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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
It has long been known that grapefruit juice can cause some serious side effects when consumed with certain medications, but now that list of medicines has quadrupled.
What is it about the citrus fruit that can accidentally cause people to overdose on their prescriptions?
"Grapefruit can have terrible interactions with certain medications, and the list of drugs involved has been growing," says ABC News' Chief Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.
The citrus fruit is already disliked by many due to its bitter taste, but researchers have found more reasons for people to steer clear of grapefruit.
"Grapefruit juice can effect everything from antibiotics to cholesterol medicine to heart medication to blood pressure medicine to anti-fungal medication," says Good's Medicine Chest Pharmacist David Davis.
Davis says an element in grapefruit exponentially increases the rate at which the body absorbs certain drugs. The result can cause an accidental drug overdose.
"In other words, what you might get when you take it with water, you might get 10 to 100 times that effect if you take it with grapefruit juice," Davis says.
A recent study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports a dramatic increase in the number of drugs affected by the fruit. Five years ago, there were 17 drugs grapefruit fans needed to avoid, but now there are 85.
"It can stop your heart. It can damage your kidneys... serious problems," says Besser.
"For instance, if it was a heart medication and your blood levels were increased quite significantly of that medication, it could create heart arrhythmia or slow down your heart rate to have such a problem," says Davis.
It doesn't matter if you eat the fruit or drink the juice. If you've consumed grapefruit and certain medications within the same 24 hours, you could see your medicine doing more than you want it to.
Davis says other juices like grape, orange and apple juice are a better option for people on medications that are affected by grapefruit. He says you should always ask a pharmacist or doctor about possible drug-food interactions when starting a new prescription.
For a list of medications known to react poorly with grapefruit, click HERE.