Xanax and Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit, while rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, is healthy for most people. However, those taking the drug Xanax (alprazolam: an antianxiety medication in the benzodiazepine class) should not eat grapefruit for a variety of reasons.

The odd anti-grapefruit warning that comes alongside this drug is a little confusing for many people. After all, while most understand that certain drugs can interact poorly with each other, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that certain foods may not interact well with the medications we take. However, fruits and vegetables, including grapefruits, are made up of chemicals that have an effect on your body just like prescription and over the counter medications do.

In the case of Xanax and grapefruit juice, the latter can actually lower your body’s ability to metabolize Xanax, allowing the drug to build up in your body, potentially reaching dangerous levels. This can drastically increase your risk of experiencing other side effects commonly attributed to Xanax, including dizziness, difficulty breathing, and even suicidal thoughts.

This lowering of your body’s ability to metabolize substances is the result of an interaction between enzymes that naturally occur in your body and the enzymes that are found in grapefruit juices. The enzymes in your body that break down substances before they enter your blood stream stop working properly when introduced to the enzymes in grapefruit, allowing excessive amounts of Xanax to move through your system.

This of course also applies to both eating grapefruit as well as drinking grapefruit juice. What is most troubling is that grapefruit juice and or the popular grapefruit cut in half that you eat with a spoon is a very common morning ritual for so many people.

While your doctor, pharmacist, and Google search likely informed you that you should not eat grapefruit while taking Xanax, oftentimes it can be helpful to understand why. So there it is: enjoy your oranges, apples, and just about every other fruit when taking Xanax, but steer clear of the grapefruit!


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