Now more than ever, prescription drugs are being used as a treatment for a multitude of symptoms and conditions. Just recently consumerreports.org reported that more than half of the American population has been prescribed, or does take medication.

Many of the prescription medications work well and with little side effects, however, some can and will cause symptoms that can be worse than the actual ailment itself. Among common prescription medications is Valium, also known as diazepam.

Valium is a benzodiazepine, meaning that it is a series of agents that affect the central nervous system of the brain. This particular class of medication acts on gamma-aminobutyric acid-A, a neurotransmitter that inhibits or reduces the activity of nerve cells in the brain. This is necessary as Valium is primarily prescribed to treat anxiety symptoms, as well as alcohol withdrawal.

Our neurotransmitters are capable of adapting and developing a tolerance to substances, and as a result, the drug may no longer affect the user after prolonged use. Doctors often counteract this side effect by slowly reducing the dosage over a series of months.

In addition, Valium is known for inducing severe muscle weakness as a result of reducing the stress coming from your neurotransmitters. Other effects Valium can have on the body are slurred speech, and a general incoordination. Some rare side effects of Valium include cramps, memory loss, decreased white blood cell count, and even abnormal liver function. It’s important to keep in mind that your doctor will only be prescribing you an adequate amount based on your symptoms if needed.

If you are prescribed Valium, your doctor will most likely speak to you about any symptoms you may experience, as well as a dietary change, such as avoiding grapefruit. Consumption of grapefruit increases your body’s ability to process benzodiazepine at a much faster rate than usual.

This is due to the fruit containing high amounts of antioxidants that prohibit specific enzymes that are created by the body’s liver to break down medications. As a result, your body ingests the agent much quicker than usual and increase your chances of experiencing severe side effects.

Despite having the ability to negatively affect particular medications, grapefruit is considered to otherwise be healthy by the American Heart Association. Other necessary dietary changes have yet to have been discovered in regard to Valium usage, however, it has been proven to be linked to rapid weight gain or loss depending on your genes and body chemistry. As we make more discoveries in medicine, newer, safer prescription drugs are being developed.

Valium can be incredibly beneficial if needed, however, it may not be right for every patient. Since its introduction to the American population in 1978, more than two billion tablets have been sold spanning across 500 different variations. It’s important to consult your physician and consider the pros and cons of taking Valium.