What is muscle relaxant ?

If you have neck or back pain, or you’re dealing with some other condition that causes muscle spasms, your doctor might prescribe a muscle relaxer (or muscle relaxant) for you.
Muscle spasticity, on the other hand, is a continuous muscle spasm that causes stiffness, rigidity, or tightness that can interfere with normal walking, talking, or movement.
Muscle relaxant is a term usually used to refer to skeletal muscle relaxants (drugs), which act on the central nervous system (CNS) to relax muscles. These drugs are often prescribed to reduce pain and soreness associated with sprains, strains, or other types of muscle injury. Some examples of commonly prescribed skeletal muscle relaxant medications include carisoprodol (Soma), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), and metaxalone (Skelaxin), which are taken in tablet form.
Muscle relaxant drugs are only available by prescription in the U.S.
Other types of muscle relaxant drugs (neuromuscular blocking drugs) are sometimes used during the induction of general anesthesia or during insertion of an endotracheal (ET) tube.  These muscle relaxants are given intravenously (through the bloodstream) and act directly on the muscles. Examples of muscle relaxants used during surgical procedures include succinylcholine (Anectine, Sucostrin), atracurium (Tracrium), and pancuronium (Pavulon).
Muscle spasticity is caused by injury to parts of the brain or spinal cord involved with movement. Conditions that can cause muscle spasticity include multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Prescription drugs can help relieve the pain and discomfort from muscle spasms or spasticity. In addition, certain over-the-counter medications may be used to treat aches and pains associated with muscle spasms.

When You Might Need a Muscle Relaxer

Your doctor might first suggest you try an over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to treat your pain. But if those don’t work, or you can’t take them because you have another issue like liver problems or ulcers, you may need to try a muscle relaxant.

Muscle relaxants are ideally prescribed for acute rather than chronic pain. They may be an option if pain is preventing you from getting enough sleep. Because muscle relaxants cause drowsiness, they can help you get rest when you take them at night.

Side Effects

No matter what kind of muscle relaxer you take, you’ll experience one or more side effects. Some muscle relaxants, however, can have potentially serious side effects, like liver damage. Your doctor will work with you to find the medication that makes the most sense for your situation.

The most common side effects include:

      • Tiredness, drowsiness, or sedation effect
      • Fatigue or weakness
      • Dizziness
      • Dry mouth
      • Depression
      • Decreased blood pressure

You shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking muscle relaxants. These medications make it hard to think and function normally, even if you take a low dose, so combining them with alcohol can increase your risk of an accident.

You also shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery while taking muscle relaxants. Some muscle relaxers start working within 30 minutes of taking them, and the effects can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours.

Addiction and Abuse

Muscle relaxants can be addictive for some people. Taking them without a prescription, or taking more than your doctor has recommended, can increase your chances of becoming addicted. So can using them over a long period of time.

Almost all cases of addiction and abuse are due to the drug carisoprodol (Soma), which is considered a schedule IV controlled substance. That’s because when the drug breaks down in your body, it produces a substance called meprobamate that acts like a tranquilizer. People who become addicted to carisoprodol sometimes abuse the drug because it makes them feel relaxed.

Other kinds of muscle relaxants may be addictive too. Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) has also been linked to misuse and abuse.

With prolonged use you can become physically dependent on some muscle relaxants. This means that without the medication, you can have withdrawl symptoms. You may have insomnia, vomiting or anxiety when you stop taking it.

Muscle Relaxant Prescription medications

Prescription medications are divided into two groups: antispasmodics and antispastics.  Antispasmodics are used to treat muscle spasms, and antispastics are used to treat muscle spasticity. Some antispasmodics, such as tizanidine, can be used to treat muscle spasticity. However, antispastics should not be used to treat muscle spasms.

Antispasmodics: Centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxants (SMRs)

Centrally acting SMRs are used in addition to rest and physical therapy to help relieve muscle spasms. They’re thought to work by causing a sedative effect or by preventing your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain.

You should only use these muscle relaxants for up to 2 or 3 weeks. The safety of longer-term use is not yet known.

While antispasmodics can be used to treat muscle spasms, they have not been shown to work better than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen. In addition, they have more side effects than NSAIDs or acetaminophen.

The more common side effects of centrally acting SMRs include:

      • drowsiness
      • dizziness
      • headache
      • nervousness
      • reddish-purple or orange urine
      • lowered blood pressure upon standing

You should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medications for the treatment of your muscle spasms.

List of centrally acting SMRs

Generic name Brand name Form Generic available
carisoprodol Soma tablet yes
carisoprodol/aspirin not available tablet yes
carisoprodol/aspirin/codeine not available tablet yes
chlorzoxazone Parafon Forte, Lorzone tablet yes
cyclobenzaprine Fexmid, Flexeril, Amrix tablet, extended-release capsule tablet only
metaxalone Skelaxin, Metaxall tablet yes
methocarbamol Robaxin tablet yes
orphenadrine Norflex extended-release tablet yes
tizanidine Zanaflex tablet, capsule yes

Antispastics

Antispastics are used to treat muscle spasticity. They should not be used to treat muscle spasms. These drugs include:

Baclofen: Baclofen (Lioresal) is used to relieve spasticity caused by MS. It’s not fully understood how it works, but it seems to block nerve signals from the spinal cord that cause muscles to spasm. Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.

Dantrolene: Dantrolene (Dantrium) is used to treat muscle spasms caused by spinal cord injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, or MS. It works by acting directly on the skeletal muscle to relax the muscle spasm. Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue.

Diazepam: Diazepam (Valium) is used to relieve muscle spasms caused by inflammation, trauma, or muscle spasticity. It works by increasing the activity of a certain neurotransmitter to decrease the occurrence of muscle spasms. Diazepam is a sedative. Side effects can include drowsiness, fatigue, and muscle weakness.

List of antispastics

Generic name Brand name Form Generic available
baclofen Lioresal, Gablofen, Lioresal tablet, injection yes
dantrolene Dantrium tablet yes
diazepam Valium oral suspension, tablet, injection yes
Warnings for prescription muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants such as carisoprodol and diazepam can be habit forming. Be sure to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Muscle relaxants can also cause withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or hallucinations (sensing things that aren’t real). Do not suddenly stop taking your medication, especially if you’ve been taking it for a long time.

Also, muscle relaxants depress your central nervous system (CNS), making it hard to pay attention or stay awake. While taking a muscle relaxant, avoid activities that require mental alertness or coordination, such as driving or using heavy machinery.

You should not take muscle relaxants with:

  • alcohol
  • CNS depressant drugs, such as opioids or psychotropics
  • sleeping medications
  • herbal supplements such as St. John’s wort

Talk to your doctor about how you can safely use muscle relaxants if you:

  • are older than 65 years
  • have a mental health problem or brain disorder
  • have liver problems
Off-label medications for spasticity

Doctors can use certain medications to treat spasticity even when the drugs are not approved for that purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA). This is called off-label drug use. The following drugs are not actually muscle relaxants, but they can still help relieve symptoms of spasticity.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are sedatives that can help relax muscles. They work by increasing the effects of certain neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay messages between your brain cells.

Examples of benzodiazepines include:

  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • alprazolam (Xanax)

Side effects of benzodiazepines can include drowsiness and problems with balance and memory. These drugs can also be habit forming.

Clonidine

Clonidine (Kapvay) is thought to work by preventing your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain or by causing a sedative effect.

Clonidine should not be used with other muscle relaxants. Taking it with similar drugs increases your risk of side effects. For instance, taking clonidine with tizanidine can cause very low blood pressure.

Clonidine is available in brand-name and generic versions.

Gabapentin

Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an anticonvulsant drug typically used to relieve seizures. It’s not fully known how gabapentin works to relieve muscle spasticity. Gabapentin is available in brand-name and generic versions.

Over-the-counter options for muscle spasms

OTC treatment is recommended as first-line therapy for muscle spasms caused by conditions such as acute lower back pain or tension headache. This means you should try OTC treatments before prescription medications.

OTC treatment options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, or a combination of both. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose an OTC treatment.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs work by blocking your body from making certain substances that cause inflammation and pain. NSAIDs are available in generic and brand-name versions. They’re typically sold over the counter. Stronger versions are available by prescription.

NSAIDs come as oral tablets, capsules, or suspensions. They also come as chewable tablets for children. Side effects of these drugs can include upset stomach and dizziness.

Examples of NSAIDs include:

  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • naproxen (Aleve)

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is thought to work by blocking your body from making certain substances that cause pain. Acetaminophen is available in generic and brand-name versions. It comes as immediate-release and extended release oral tablets and capsules, orally disintegrating tablets, chewable tablets, and oral solutions.

The more common side effects of acetaminophen can include nausea and upset stomach.

What is Carisoprodol and What is Carisoprodol Side Effects ?

Carisoprodol ( Generic Soma ) is a controlled substance and you can not buy it online. Buying Carisoprodol or Selling Carisoprodol online are both illegal. For more Muscle Relaxant prescription information, please check this link.

If you want to buy Carisoprodol online, I suggest you buy Zanaflex, Flexeril, or other muscle relaxant instead.

What is carisoprodol?

Carisoprodol is a muscle relaxer that blocks pain sensations between the nerves and the brain.

Carisoprodol is used together with rest and physical therapy to treat skeletal muscle conditions such as pain or injury.

Carisoprodol should only be used for short periods (up to two or three weeks) because there is no evidence of its effectiveness in long term use and most skeletal muscle injuries are generally of short duration. Carisoprodol is considered a controlled substance in the United States.

Important Information

You should not take carisoprodol if you have porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

Carisoprodol may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person. Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death.

Carisoprodol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase drowsiness and dizziness caused by this medicine.

You may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using this medicine after using it over a long period of time. Do not stop using this medication suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

How to use Carisoprodol

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. This medication should only be used short-term (for 3 weeks or less) unless directed by your doctor.

If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as stomach cramps, trouble sleeping, headache, nausea). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used carisoprodol for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.

Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists after 2 to 3 weeks or if it worsens.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to carisoprodol or meprobamate, or if you have:

  • porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease; or
  • a seizure.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Carisoprodol can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness in a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

This medicine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 16 years old.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medicine.

How should I take carisoprodol?

Take carisoprodol exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Carisoprodol may be habit-forming. Misuse can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Carisoprodol is usually taken 3 times per day and at bedtime and should be only be taken for 2 or 3 weeks.. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully.

Do not stop using this medicine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

Carisoprodol is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include rest, physical therapy, or other pain relief measures. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of your medicine. Carisoprodol is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using it improperly or without a prescription.

Carisoprodol dosing information

carisoprodol (Generic Soma )
carisoprodol (Generic Soma )

Usual Adult Dose for Muscle Spasm:

250 to 350 mg orally 3 times a day and at bedtime
Duration of therapy: Up to 2 to 3 weeks

Comments:
-This drug should only be used for short periods (up to 2 or 3 weeks) as there is inadequate evidence of effectiveness for more prolonged use and acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions are generally of short duration.

Use: For the relief of discomfort associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of carisoprodol can be fatal, especially if you take it with alcohol or with other drugs that can slow your breathing.

Overdose symptoms may include vision problems, confusion, hallucinations, muscle stiffness, loss of coordination, weak or shallow breathing, fainting, seizure, or coma.

What should I avoid while taking carisoprodol?

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Carisoprodol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to carisoprodol: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

      • a seizure (convulsions); or
      • high levels of serotonin in the body agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

Common carisoprodol side effects may include:

      • drowsiness;
      • dizziness; or
      • headache.

Dizziness, drowsiness, or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: confusion.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

All prescription is not recommended to use for a long time. You can use anti-aging products to become yonger and your muscle will become younger. We think exercising is the best way to relieve your pain. Exercising is a very good methods. Exercising can enhance your immune system and increase your muscle strength and make your nerve strong.
You can also take some nutrition from food. USANA Essentials – HealthPak, USANA Nutritions which contains USANA CellSentials™ is very good natural health nutrition for your health and can relieve your headache because of nutrition.

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

Using carisoprodol with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Many drugs can interact with carisoprodol. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medicine only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

How to treat muscle spasms ?

When you have muscle spasms, you can try following nature treatment:

      1. Stretching
      2. Massage
      3. Ice
      4. Heat
      5. Drink Water
      6. Mild exercising

If your muscle spasms doesnot improve, we suggest you take some natural foods to relieve your muscle spasm.

Some OTC medicines and Prescription for muscle spasms

Nonprescription remedies

There are several things you can take by mouth that may help with your muscle spasms:

    • NSAIDs. Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) often bring relief by reducing inflammation and pain.
    • Pickle juice. Drinking a small amount of pickle juice reportedly relieves cramping muscles within 30 to 35 seconds. This is thought to work by restoring electrolyte balance.
    • Supplements. Salt tablets, vitamin B-12, and magnesium supplements are used by some people to treat and prevent muscle spasms. It’s important to note that there’s limited evidence to show that these are effective.
    • Natural muscle relaxers. Natural muscle relaxants include drinking chamomile tea, adding capsaicin to foods, and improving your sleep.

 

Prescription medication for Muscle Spasms

If you have a persisting muscle spasm, especially if it’s severe, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant or a pain medication.

Muscle relaxants used for muscle spasms are called centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxants (SMRs), and are often only prescribed for 2- to 3-week periods.

A List of Skeletal muscle relaxants

 

Drug Name Reviews Avg. Ratings
Antiflex
Generic name: orphenadrine
1 review
  
10
Dantrium (Pro)
Generic name: dantrolene
2 reviews
  
10
Vanadom
Generic name: carisoprodol
1 review
  
9.0
Soma (Pro)
Generic name: carisoprodol
180 reviews
  
8.9
Zanaflex (Pro)
Generic name: tizanidine
100 reviews
  
7.7
Xeomin (Pro)
Generic name: incobotulinumtoxinA
2 reviews
  
7.5
Amrix (Pro)
Generic name: cyclobenzaprine
48 reviews
  
7.3
Myobloc (Pro)
Generic name: rimabotulinumtoxinB
3 reviews
  
7.2
Skelaxin (Pro)
Generic name: metaxalone
82 reviews
  
7.2
Lioresal (Pro)
Generic name: baclofen
20 reviews
  
6.8
Norflex (Pro)
Generic name: orphenadrine
22 reviews
  
6.5
Flexeril (Pro)
Generic name: cyclobenzaprine
197 reviews
  
6.3
Robaxin (Pro)
Generic name: methocarbamol
63 reviews
  
6.3
Lorzone (Pro)
Generic name: chlorzoxazone
21 reviews
  
6.2
Dysport (Pro)
Generic name: abobotulinumtoxinA
7 reviews
  
6.1
Botox (Pro)
Generic name: onabotulinumtoxinA
350 reviews
  
5.9
Parafon Forte DSC (Pro)
Generic name: chlorzoxazone
3 reviews
  
5.9
Fexmid (Pro)
Generic name: cyclobenzaprine
4 reviews
  
5.8
Gablofen (Pro)
Generic name: baclofen
3 reviews
  
5.8
Robaxin-750
Generic name: methocarbamol
39 reviews
  
5.6
Lioresal Intrathecal
Generic name: baclofen
3 reviews
  
5.2
Botox Cosmetic (Pro)
Generic name: onabotulinumtoxinA
11 reviews
  
4.9
Comfort Pac with Cyclobenzaprine
Generic name: cyclobenzaprine
2 reviews
  
4.5
Orfro
Generic name: orphenadrine
0 reviews
  
3.0
Kemstro
Generic name: baclofen
0 reviews
  
2.0
Dantrium Intravenous (Pro)
Generic name: dantrolene
0 reviews Add rating
Mio-Rel
Generic name: orphenadrine
0 reviews Add rating
Orphenate
Generic name: orphenadrine
0 reviews Add rating
Ozobax (Pro)
Generic name: baclofen
0 reviews Add rating
Paraflex
Generic name: chlorzoxazone
0 reviews Add rating
Remular-S
Generic name: chlorzoxazone
0 reviews Add rating
Revonto (Pro)
Generic name: dantrolene
0 reviews Add rating
Ryanodex (Pro)
Generic name: dantrolene
0 reviews Add rating

Although skeletal muscle relaxants are recommended for short-term use in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, approximately 44.5% of users remain on them for more than a year.

Due to CNS depression, cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone, orphenadrine (Norflex, others), methocarbamol (Robaxin, others), carisoprodol, and chlorzoxazone (Lorzone, Parafon Forte DSC, others) are on the American Geriatrics Society’s Beers List of inappropriate drugs for elderly patients.

Despite this, approximately 300,000 annual prescriptions for skeletal muscle relaxants (15%) are issued to patients older than 65 years of age.

Skeletal muscle relaxants represent a diverse pharmacotherapeutic group of medications across several chemical classes that are structurally dissimilar. These agents are effective for spasticity, skeletal muscle spasms, or both.

Because of the breadth of pharmacologic mechanisms and variable pharmacokinetics, the drugs have a huge range of AEs and potential drug interactions.

Considering that these agents are most often used in the elderly and also as adjuvants for the treatment of chronic pain patients with multiple comorbidities who are likely receiving a polypharmaceutical regimen (including opioids), skeletal muscle drug selection for each patient requires careful attention to these factors.

 

List of Common Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxers are used in addition to rest, physical therapy, and other measures to relieve discomfort. They are typically prescribed for short-term use to treat acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. Muscle relaxers are occasionally prescribed for chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months).

If you want to talk about muscle relaxant in our muscle relaxant forums.

Muscle relaxers are not a class of drugs—meaning they do not all have the same chemical structure or work the same way in the brain. Rather, the term muscle relaxer is used to describe a group of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants and have sedative and musculoskeletal relaxant properties.

Muscle relaxers may be prescribed to treat back pain:

      • Early in the course of back pain, on a short-term basis, to relieve pain associated with muscle spasms
      • When back pain causes insomnia (for their sedative effect)

Muscle relaxers are also prescribed for other conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders.

There are several types of muscle relaxer medications commonly used to treat back pain.

muscle relaxant
muscle relaxant

Common Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxers are usually prescribed to treat back pain in conjunction with rest and physical therapy. Common muscle relaxants include:

      • Baclofen. Muscle tightness and muscle spasms, including those related to spine injuries, may be eased with baclofen. The medication may be helpful in treating multiple sclerosis and stabbing nerve pain. It is available as a tablet and can be taken by children as young as 12 years old. Some common side effects could include nausea and vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, headache, or muscle weakness. Baclofen is rated C in the FDA’s A through X pregnancy safety ranking for medications, with A being the safest. The C category means that the medication should only be used if the benefits outweigh the risks.
      • Benzodiazepines. In addition to treating anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, benzodiazepines can also treat muscle spasms and skeletal pain. Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and temazepam (Restoril), are typically only intended for short-term use. This limitation is due to their habit-forming potential and because they alter sleep cycles, leading to sleep difficulties once the drug is stopped. Benzodiazepines are sold as tablets, liquid, injections, and rectal gels. People who have myasthenia gravis, severe liver disease, serious breathing troubles, or some forms of glaucoma, should avoid taking diazepam. All benzodiazepines are rated D by the FDA for safety during pregnancy and are not recommended for women who are pregnant.
      • Carisoprodol (Soma). Carisoprodol relaxes muscles and eases pain and stiffness caused by acute bone and muscle problems, often caused by an injury. It is taken by mouth in tablet form and is also available in combination with aspirin or aspirin and codeine. Carisoprodol can be habit-forming, particularly if used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs that have a sedative effect, including opioids (such as codeine). Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. People with a history of blood disorders, kidney or liver disease, and seizures may need to avoid Carisoprodol. It is rated C in the FDA’s pregnancy safety ranking for medications.
      • Chlorzoxazone (Lorzone). Chlorzoxazone is used for the relief of discomfort from acute, painful, musculoskeletal conditions. Chlorzoxazone is available as a tablet. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. Chlorzoxazone is not recommended for people with liver disease. It has not been rated by the FDA for safety during pregnancy.
      • Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid, FlexePax Kit, FusePaq Tabradol). Cyclobenzaprine eases stiffness and pain from muscle cramps, also called muscle spasms. It is available as a tablet and extended-release capsule. Cyclobenzaprine itself is not intended for long-term use (more than 2 to 3 weeks). Common side effects include blurred vision, dizziness or drowsiness, and dry mouth. It is not advised for those with an overactive thyroid, heart problems, or liver disease. Cyclobenzaprine is rated B by the FDA for safety during pregnancy, making it the safest muscle relaxant to use while pregnant.
      • Dantrolene (Dantrium). Dantrolene helps control chronic spasticity related to spinal injuries. It is also used for conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Dantrolene is taken as a capsule or intravenous powder for injection. Drowsiness and sensitivity to light are common side effects. It can cause severe liver problems, and should not be taken by people with active liver disease. The FDA has given dantrolene a C rating for safety in pregnancy.
      • Metaxalone (Skelaxin, Metaxall, and Metaxall CP, Lorvatus PharmaPak). Metaxalone targets pain and muscle spasms from sprains, strains, and muscle injuries. It is available as a tablet or injection. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Metaxalone is generally not recommended for people with a known tendency to become anemic, and who have kidney or liver disease. Metaxalone may affect blood sugar tests for people with diabetes. The FDA has not rated metaxalone for safety during pregnancy.
      • Methocarbamol (Robaxin, Robaxin-750). Methocarbamol eases acute muscle and bone pain. It can be taken as a tablet or by injection. Common side effects include dizziness, headache, nausea, flushing, and blurred vision. Methocarbamol is generally not recommended to people with renal disease or failure, or a history of allergic reaction to the medication. The FDA has given methocarbamol a C rating for safety during pregnancy.
      • Orphenadrine. Orphenadrine is a medication used to relieve pain and stiffness caused by muscle injuries. It is available as an extended-release tablet. Common side effects include dry mouth, lightheadedness, difficult urination, heartburn, nausea and vomiting. It is generally not recommended to people with previous sensitivities to the ingredients, myasthenia gravis, those with glaucoma or certain types of ulcers. The FDA has given orphenadrine a C rating for safety during pregnancy.
      • Tizanidine (Comfort Pac with Tizanidine, Zanaflex). Tizanidine is used to treat muscle spasms caused by spinal cord injuries and other conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Tizanidine is available in tablet and capsule form and absorbs differently depending on whether it is taken on an empty stomach or with food. Common side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, constipation and tiredness. It should not be used by people taking fluvoxamine or ciprofloxacin or those who have liver disease. Tizanidine is rated in the C category for safety during pregnancy.

Sometimes the first muscle relaxers a doctor prescribes does not work as well as expected. It may be necessary to try an alternative if the initial prescription is not effective. Many drugs interact with muscle relaxers and a person should keep their health care provider informed of all prescription and non-prescription medications he or she is taking.

There is very little research regarding which muscle relaxers are most effective, so the choice of which medication—or whether to use one at all—is based on factors such as a person’s reaction to the medication and personal preferences, potential for abuse, possible drug interactions, and adverse side effects.

These medicines are usually taken by mouth (tablets, capsules or liquids). In general, your doctor will start off with a low dose and increase this gradually over a number of weeks. This is in order to help your body get used to these medicines. Injections into the back are always started in the hospital.

Cannabis extract is a spray for the mouth. It should be sprayed under the tongue or on to the inside of the cheek once or twice a day. Always change the area in your mouth where you spray, to prevent irritation of the mouth. Like other muscle relaxants you will normally start off with a low dose. The number of sprays used is normally increased over a number of days.

What are the possible side-effects?

As with most medicines, muscle relaxants have a number of possible side-effects. However, not everyone experiences them and they usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Most muscle relaxants cause muscle weakness as a side-effect. It is not possible in this leaflet to list all the possible side-effects for these medicines. However, see below for a list of the most common side-effects. For more detailed information, see the leaflet that comes with the medicine packet.

  • Baclofen – feeling sick, tiredness, drowsiness, problems with eyesight, weakness, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, dry mouth, breathing difficulties, aching muscles, sleeplessness or nightmares, feeling anxious or agitated, confusion, unsteadiness, increased need to pass urine, shakiness, increased sweating, and skin rash.
  • Dantrolene – feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired, or generally unwell, diarrhoea, feeling or being sick, tummy (abdominal) pain, headache, loss of appetite, rash, speech or sight difficulties, high temperature (fever), chills, difficulty in breathing, seizures. It may also cause inflammation of the lining around the heart (sometimes with fluid in the lungs). Liver toxicity is also a possible side-effect of dantrolene.
  • Diazepam – feeling sleepy, weak, or light-headed, forgetfulness, feeling confused or unsteady, feeling (or being) aggressive.
  • Methocarbamol – forgetfulness, allergic reactions, being anxious, blurred vision, a slow heart rate, being confused or dizzy, headache, heartburn, feeling or being sick, itching, rash, and low blood pressure.
  • Cannabis extract – feeling dizzy, depressed mood, diarrhoea or constipation, mouth ulcers or pain, feeling tired or sick, appetite changes. Hallucinations have also been reported.