NEW ORLEANS -- You may remember a few weeks ago, doctors expanded the list of the number of medications that can have serious interactions with grapefruit or its juice.
It went from 17 medications to 43.
And few people know the most popular pill for men should also be on that list.
It's been called the most popular drug in the world, the little blue pill Viagra. And while most men know they should not take Viagra if they are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems, you may not know about this.
"Viagra, which is used for treating erectile dysfunction, when combined with grapefruit juice can reach toxic levels that result in men having hot flushes. It can also significantly lower their blood pressure and it can produce unwanted side effects," explained Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist and men's hormone expert at Touro.
Dr. Baum said a little as one grapefruit or an eight ounce glass of juice can cause a change in absorption for 24 hours.
"The grapefruit juice in the small intestine where pills are absorbed, prevents the breakdown of the medication. So when it's absorbed, it's absorbed in larger quantities and can reach toxic levels," said Dr. Baum.
The reason Viagra should not be taken with a nitrate medicine is because it can cause a serious drop in blood pressure. For that reason, doctors say men who become dizzy, nauseated, or have pain, numbness or tingling in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw, should get medical attention right away. And taking Viagra in the same day as grapefruit can have a similar effect.
"It can drop a man's blood pressure. It can cause a man to feel hot and warmed and flushed and so taking away the enjoyment that sexual intimacy is supposed to create. It can subtract from that and can make the man quite uncomfortable," Dr. Baum added.
Some other fruits can also have the same effect. They are Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos, but sweet oranges do not cause this interaction.