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Can I Take Benicar & Eat Grapefruit?

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Can I Take Benicar & Eat Grapefruit?
Grapefruit Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

To improve your health and lower your risk of chronic diseases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends you eat fruit with each meal. As a low-calorie, nutrient-rich fruit, grapefruit makes a healthy choice, unless you're taking certain medications, such as Lipitor or Zoloft. However, you can safely eat grapefruit while taking the medication Benicar.

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Benicar, also called olmesartan, is an angiostatin II receptor antagonist, which means it helps prevent the narrowing of your blood vessels to improve blood flow. Benicar is primarily used to treat hypertension. It is safe for both adults and children and is sometimes given in addition to other blood pressure-lowering medications. You should not take Benicar if you are allergic to olmesartan. If you have kidney disease, liver disease or congestive heart failure, you may need to undergo special testing before starting Benicar. Dehydration can also alter the effects of the medication.

Grapefruit Medication Interactions

Grapefruit and its juice interacts with a number of prescription medications. A substance in the grapefruit interacts with an enzyme that metabolizes these prescription medications, increasing the amount of medication in your blood to dangerously high levels. Before starting any new medications, you should discuss potential drug and food interactions with your doctor or pharmacist. Some of the medications that interact with grapefruit include the anti-anxiety drug BuSpar, anti-histamine Allegra and the anti-seizure medication Tegretol.

Grapefruit and Benicar

While grapefruit does interact with some high blood pressure medication, including the calcium channel blockers Procardia and Sular, it does not interact with Benicar, according to However, you should talk to your doctor about grapefruit and Benicar before starting the medication.

Foods to Avoid on Benicar

Grapefruit does not interact with Benicar, but you should avoid alcohol and salt substitutes while taking the medication. Drinking alcohol also lowers your blood pressure, and when combined with Benicar may lower your blood pressure to dangerous levels. Alcohol may also exacerbate the side effects caused by Benicar, including feeling like you might pass out, urinating less than usual, an increase in heart rate or swelling in your hands or feet. Salt substitutes are high in potassium, and when combined with Benicar may increase your blood levels of potassium. High blood potassium levels can lead to an irregular heartbeat, tingling in the extremities or feelings of heaviness in the legs.

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