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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: One tangerine/grapefruit hybrid (tangelos) contains trace amounts of furanocoumarins at a level too low to be associated with grapefruit/drug interactions

Author
item Widmer, Wilbur

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 11, 2005
Publication Date: May 4, 2005
Citation: Widmer, W.W. 2005. One tangerine/grapefruit hybrid (tangelos) contains trace amounts of furanocoumarins at a level too low to be associated with grapefruit/drug interactions. Journal of Food Science. 70:C419-C422.

Interpretive Summary: Many medical prefessionals are recommending to patients that they do not consume grapefruit when taking certain drugs (like statin drugs including Lipitor and Zocor) due to compounds in grapefriut that prevent breakdown of these drugs. Tangerine and tangelo fruit contain grapefriut parentage and, therefore, could also possibly contain compounds that interact with drugs. These citrus relatives of grapefruit were tested and found not to contain drug-interactive compounds.

Technical Abstract: Tangelos are citrus hybrids with grapefruit and tangerine parentage and are a significant crop in Florida, marketed as specialty fruit. Because tangelos contain genetic material from grapefruit, there is the question of whether they contain furanocoumarins and exhibit an interaction with the same drugs associated with the grapefruit/drug interaction. Authentic samples of 12 commercially grown tangelos and 2 nonhybrid tangerine varieties grown in Florida were obtained and screened for furanocoumarin monomer and dimer content. None of the tangelos or tangerines tested were found to contain any furanocoumarins. This presents evidence the commercial tangerine and tangelo varieties grown in Florida are unlikely to cause any interaction with the drugs affected by grapefruit.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014