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Is it Dangerous to Eat Grapefruit While Taking Buspirone?

Buspirone is a medication that belongs to the anxiolytics drug class and is prescribed to lessen the symptoms of anxiety. One of the common brand names for buspirone is BuSpar. 

Buspirone works by altering the amounts of certain neurotransmitters in your brain to cause feelings of relaxation and calmness.[1] This medication is often used instead of benzodiazepine medications, as it is thought to be less addictive. However, when you are taking buspirone, there are several drug interactions you should be aware of. 

One of the interactions people tend to overlook is the risk of consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while buspirone is in your system. Being aware of the dangers of mixing BuSpar and grapefruit can help you avoid dangerous side effects. 

Side Effects of Buspirone (BuSpar)

Buspirone might make you feel drowsy or dizzy, so you should avoid operating heavy machinery like cars while taking it. Like any medication, you might experience a few side effects while your body adjusts to buspirone. 

The common side effects of buspirone include:[1]

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Nausea 
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea 
  • Excitement or confusion 
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep 
  • Nervousness 
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Feeling faint or weak

These side effects should subside once your body adjusts to the medication. If they persist, you should contact your doctor.

Some individuals may react badly to buspirone. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:[1]

  • Rash or hives
  • Itching 
  • Swelling of the face, throat, eyes, tongue, mouth, or lips
  • Uncontrollable shaking or shivering 
  • Agitation
  • Fever
  • Sweating and flushing
  • Dizziness and confusion 
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle stiffness or twitching 
  • Seizures 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 

Can You Eat or Drink Grapefruit While Taking Buspirone?

Every drug has substances that they interact negatively with, but rarely does food interact with medications. However, one food that should be avoided when taking buspirone is grapefruit or grapefruit juice. While surprising, grapefruit juice interacts negatively with a variety of different prescription medications. 

Grapefruit juice slows down the enzymes that break down buspirone, causing the medication to last longer in your system and raising the risk of side effects. Additionally, you could end up having too much buspirone in your bloodstream, putting you at risk of overdosing. 

According to the FDA, “Many drugs are broken down (metabolized) with the help of a vital enzyme called CYP3A4 in the small intestine. Grapefruit juice can block the action of intestinal CYP3A4, so instead of being metabolized, more of the drug enters the blood and stays in the body longer. The result: too much drug in your body.”[2]

Adverse side effects are more likely to occur among individuals who consume large amounts of grapefruit juice, so you may not have to remove it from your diet completely. Just be sure to eat or drink grapefruit in moderation.

Signs of a Buspirone Overdose

Some people might abuse buspirone to experience a euphoric and drowsy high. However, this either requires extremely large amounts of the substance or combining it with alcohol or grapefruit juice to increase its effects. Doing so can be incredibly dangerous and increase the risk of overdose. 

Symptoms of a buspirone overdose include:[3]

  • Dizziness 
  • Lightheadedness
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Pinpointed pupils 
  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach pain 

While it is uncommon for a buspirone overdose to result in death, it can happen. As a result, you should always contact emergency medical services if you suspect that someone is overdosing on buspirone. The risk of death increases if you are taking certain medications that interact with buspirone or have a damaged liver.

Other Substances that Might Interact Negatively With BuSpar 

When you are prescribed buspirone, your doctor will ask you if you are taking other medications because they need to ensure that your current medications will not negatively interact with each other. 

Some of the medications to avoid when taking BuSpar include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Triptan migraine medications 
  • Diltiazem
  • Verapamil 
  • Erythromycin
  • Nefazodone 
  • Medications containing ritonavir 

You should always consult with your doctor before taking other medications with your BuSpar. If you see one of your medications on the list, call your doctor to ensure that it is safe to continue taking BuSpar. 

Find Help for BuSpar Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are addicted to BuSpar or another prescription drug, it may be time to seek help. At Mandala Healing Center, clients are taken on a journey of healing through complete immersion into evidence-based clinical modalities, multifaceted alternative therapies, and expert medical management, allowing them to fully detox and recover from drug and alcohol addictions. Through a program of care designed to encourage change, a foundation is created that allows clients to find their higher purpose and reclaim their lives.

To learn more about our prescription drug detox and rehab programs, please contact our team of dedicated admissions counselors today.