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Drugs that interact with whole grapefruit, grapefruit concentrate or fresh grapefruit juice have been identified, though not all have serious consequences. Those that do, however, can cause problems that include acute kidney failure, respiratory failure, gastric bleeding — and worse, sudden death.

Part of the concern lies in the fact that people older than 45 are most likely to consume grapefruit juice — and to take prescription drugs. Seniors older than 70 have the most trouble tolerating excessively high levels of drugs, Bailey noted.

These are the individuals with the greatest chance of exposure.

Patients worried about the interaction of grapefruit with their medications should talk with their doctors. And doctors should make sure to ask about grapefruit consumption when prescribing drugs.

Some grapefruit lovers may have cut back already because of the risk of drug interaction. Consumption of grapefruit juice has dropped in the past decade, falling from .44 gallons of juice per person per year in 2000 to .15 gallons per person in 2011, according to figures from the Florida Department of Citrus.

Officials there say that although some drugs do interact with grapefruit, most do not. In most cases, doctors can prescribe drugs in the same class that don’t interact.

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