Drinking Grapefruit Juice While On Opioids

Several mechanisms take place in the body upon consuming an opioid. This opioid could be illegal heroin or a prescribed one like methadone. These mechanisms are a series of reactions in the liver, which determine the speed of assimilation of the drug. One of the enzymes secreted by the liver for this process is called the CYP3A4 enzyme. This enzyme regulates the breaking down of the chemical structure of opioids before they are absorbed. The activity of this enzyme differs from person to person; while some people possess higher activity indices, others have lower. Individuals with higher CYP3A4 activity absorb opioids slower and so experience the euphoric effects of the drug at a much-reduced rate.

Grapefruit juice acts as a natural inhibitor to this enzyme, so grapefruit juice is used for opiate potentiation. It does so by altering drug metabolism and thus allowing a quicker absorption of opioids. As a result, the effects of taking opiates are felt quicker and even heightened. Purposefully taking grapefruit juice together with an opioid, shortly before, or after, is a form of potentiating opiates. Because this is a type of substance abuse, it can lead to serious and potentially harmful results.

Grapefruit Juice and Opiates

What Happens When You Mix Grapefruit Juice and Opioids?

Mixing grapefruit juice with opioids greatly alters the effect of the drug. The first thing to consider is that it increases the feeling of the dosage level of the opioid, thereby putting the individual at risk of overdosing. This is especially true with the prescription opioid, methadone. Since grapefruit juice exponentially increases the effect of opiates, understanding dosage levels become clouded. An individual may therefore overdose with even a small amount of an opioid just by taking it with grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit Juice is Used for Opiate Potentiation

Signs of overdosing on an opiate include:

  • Shallow or erratic breathing
  • Inability to respond to external stimuli
  • Noticeably constricted or pinpoint pupils
  • Slow or stopped pulse
  • Unusually pale or cold skin
  • Loss of consciousness

Aside from overdosing, there are other risk factors associated with combining grapefruit juice and opioids. Some of these risks individuals become exposed to are permanent brain damage, respiratory arrest, or even death. These consequences of using both grapefruit juice and opioids are devastating in the least and terminal at worst. If you or a loved one is dependent on using grapefruit juice with opioids, obtaining help is paramount. This will allow a safe recovery to avoid dire outcomes.

Professional Help for Opioid Addiction and Dependency

The importance of opioid addiction treatment centers cannot be overstated when it comes to recovery from substance abuse. Opiate abuse alone is already detrimental; mixing them with grapefruit juice only complicates an existing problem. The only route to help an individual dependent on using grape juice with opioids is proper rehabilitation treatment.

At NJ Addiction Resources, we will provide you with every help you require. From initial assessment through to achieving sobriety, we will assist you all the way. We help individuals access facilities where personalized treatment programs are mapped out for their recovery. For the best fit and most cost-effective treatment, contact our recovery advocate for guidance.

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