Xanax and Grapefruit

by on May 23, 2012

Xanax (Alprazolam) is known interact with grapefruit and its juice and can cause certain side effects that may prove dangerous.  Although many people are aware that grapefruit with many prescription medications when they are ingested together, very few understand the actual chemistry behind it or the effects they may experience.

Why the Concern?

When it comes to grapefruit juice and medication, there are a few basic principles that help to explain the interactions between the two. In short, grapefruit blocks certain enzymes that would otherwise break down parts of medications and prevent them from being absorbed into the bloodstream; the amount of the medication actually absorbed is much less than what is ingested. When pharmaceutical companies develop dosages for their products, they will generally take these enzymes into consideration. However, when grapefruit juice destroys the enzymes, more of the medication than usual is able to enter the bloodstream; this may result in an increase in side effects and possible overdose.

Symptoms and Effects

When patients consume Xanax and grapefruit together, they will often notice an increase in their drowsiness and dizziness. This is because more of the drug than was anticipated has entered the bloodstream. Scientific studies have made attempts to discover just how much more of the drugs that the fruit allows into the system, but these studies were relatively unsuccessful as the absorption rate varies from patient to patient.

Aside from this, many patients report nausea and gastrointestinal upset when they drink grapefruit juice or eat the fruit either directly before or after ingesting their medications.

Precautions and Considerations

Grapefruit and its juices have a number of very favorable effects on the health and many scientists and nutritionists claim that it may even help obese individuals lose weight. However, patients who are taking prescription medications should use this fruit product with caution. In order to avoid these adverse symptoms and side effects, patients should never take Xanax and drink grapefruit juice within 24 hours of one another; this allows the Xanax to metabolize in the system as it was originally intended. Those who choose to consume grapefruit products should speak with their doctors about proper Xanax dosage and contact them immediately if symptoms are bothersome or persistent.

Alternatives to Grapefruit

The beneficial components in grapefruit are known as flavonoids and they are available in varying potencies in all citrus fruits. These flavonoids are thought to stimulate the fat-burning enzymes within the body and thereby increase the metabolism.

Oranges, lemons, limes and tangerines are all suitable alternatives that will not block digestive enzymes in the small intestine, therefore leaving the concentration of Xanax and other prescription medications uncompromised. These fruits can be eaten as-is or added to water and sweetened with a conservative amount of sugar or artificial sweetener for a refreshing and healthy beverage choice. All in all, grapefruit is certainly not the only option.

Patients who are taking Xanax or other prescription medications and enjoy grapefruit should always speak with their pharmacist or physician before combining the two. This way, the likelihood of Xanax and grapefruit interactions is greatly reduced.