Valium and Grapefruit

by on July 7, 2012

Although most drugs are compatible with grapefruit, some classes of drugs are contraindicated with grapefruit. Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) are known to interact with grapefruit. Combining Valium with Grapefruit can lead to major drug interactions therefore should not be used concomitantly.

In general, grapefruit is a healthy food. In fact, the American Heart Association considers it as an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, for some people taking medications, consuming large amounts of grapefruit can cause problems. Grapefruit and other grapefruit products contain certain chemicals that interfere with the metabolism of drugs in the bloodstream.

Valium can cause side effects such as sleepiness and drowsiness. Meanwhile, grapefruit can reduce the metabolism of this drug. This can result in increased pharmacologic effect of Valium as well as its side effects.

How Grapefruit Affects Valium

Grapefruit contains high amounts of antioxidants that block the action of the enzyme CYP3A4 for about 24 hours. This enzyme is produced by the body’s liver and is responsible for breaking down medications, including Valium. High amounts of grapefruit can block the action of this enzyme thereby reducing its clearance from the body. Furthermore, too much grapefruit in the diet can lead to abnormally high and potentially toxic levels of Valium.

Grapefruit is also known to inhibit the metabolism of other medications that include some cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure medications and anti-anxiety drugs.

How To Prevent Dangerous Grapefruit-Valium Interactions

People taking Valium should be extra careful with their diet. It is wise to avoid consuming food products that contain grapefruit, such as grapefruit, grapefruit juice and grapefruit supplements. Some people think that it is safe for them to take grapefruit at night if they plan to take medication for breakfast. Take note, however, that grapefruit can stay in the body for roughly 24 hours, so spacing out the Valium and grapefruit will not prevent drug interactions.

If you are among the many people who regularly drink grapefruit, be sure to talk about it with your healthcare provider. If you are after the health benefits of grapefruit, you can try other alternatives such as tomatoes or oranges. These fruits are equally healthy as grapefruit and are considered safe for use while taking Valium.