Skip to content

Muscle Relaxers Side Effects, Types, & Risks. What Do Muscle Relaxers Do?

Table of Contents

Read more about the muscle relaxers’ risks, side effects, and types. Learn what muscle relaxers do. How are they used and what is their downfall.

By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 1, 2023

What Are Muscle Relaxers? What Do Muscle Relaxers Do?

Muscle relaxers or muscle relaxants are prescriptions used to treat severe muscle pain and discomfort caused by back pains and muscle spasms. A muscle spasm means that one or more of your muscles is contracting, and the cramping or twitching is out of your control. It can occur for several reasons and can sometimes be very painful. Prescription drugs used as muscle relaxers can differ in their composition, chemical structures, and the way they work in the brain.

Common Muscle Relaxers Side Effects

Common side effects of muscle relaxers can include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, and blurred vision. Additionally, muscle relaxers may cause dry mouth, constipation, headache, and fatigue. More serious side effects may also occur, such as low blood pressure, allergic reactions, and an increased risk of developing serious medication interactions. It is important to always follow the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist when taking muscle relaxers. Continue reading to learn more about muscle relaxers’ side effects and their factors.

What Are Muscle Relaxers Used for?

Muscle relaxers can be prescribed for a number of different medical conditions, such as back or neck pain, chronic muscle spasms, sciatica, and fibromyalgia. In addition, muscle relaxers may be prescribed for treatment of injury or strain, and can help to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, muscle relaxers can be used for helping to alleviate pain associated with diseases such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.

What Does a Muscle Relaxer Do to the Nerves?

Muscle relaxers generally work as central nervous system (CNS) depressants and cause a sedative effect or prevent the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. The onset of action is fast, and effects typically last from 4-6 hours.

Like other prescription drugs, muscle relaxers risk abuse and even drug addiction. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [1], centrally-acting muscle relaxants are a potential drug of abuse.

Several treatment options can effectively treat addiction. Encourage your friend or loved one to talk to their doctor or a treatment counselor about using alcohol treatment programs, substance abuse treatmentrelapse prevention, or support groups as part of their recovery.

Currently, there are no recommended “over the counter muscle relaxers” available in the U.S., but some OTC medications can have muscle-relaxing effects. Many people are searching for “muscle relaxers over the counter” or “otc muscle relaxers,” but the common muscle relaxers are ideally prescribed for acute rather than chronic pain. Anyone with muscle spasms and pain should consult a doctor who may prescribe or recommend a muscle relaxer. It is important to be aware of the possible effects of muscle relaxers. There are several prescription muscle relaxers names on the market.

Popular Names of Muscle Relaxers

  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Chlorzoxazone (Lorzone, Parafon Forte DSC, Remular-S)
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix)
  • Metaxalone (Skelaxin)
  • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
  • Orphenadrine (Norflex)
  • Baclofen (Ozobax)
  • Tizanidine (Zaniflex)

Types of Common Muscle Relaxers Names

Muscle relaxer medications encompass two classes of medications: antispasmodics and antispastics.

  • Antispastics directly affect the spinal cord or skeletal muscles, improving muscle tightness and spasms.
  • Antispasmodics help reduces muscle spasms via the central nervous system. They inhibit the transmission of neurons in the brain.

Antispastics and antispasmodics have different indications and side effects. Since these drugs work differently, people should never use them interchangeably or substitute one type for another.

Popular Muscle Relaxers Over The Counter Names

There are several over the counter muscle relaxers (OTC) medications that are commonly used as muscle relaxants. Here are a few examples:

  1. Acetaminophen: This medication is commonly used to relieve pain and reduce fever. It is available in a variety ofover the counter muscle relaxers products, including Tylenol.
  2. Ibuprofen: This medication is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is available in a variety of over the counter muscle relaxers products, including Advil and Motrin.
  3. Naproxen: This medication is a NSAID that is commonly used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is available in a variety of over the counter muscle relaxers products, including Aleve.
  4. Aspirin: This medication is a NSAID that is commonly used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is also available in a variety of OTC muscle relaxers products.

It’s important to note that over the counter muscle relaxers and OTC pain relievers may not be suitable for everyone and can have side effects. It’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any medication, even if it is available OTC.

Each of our addiction treatment programs includes a variety of therapeutic interventions, skill-building, and counseling to address every aspect of your addiction and mental health.
Each of our addiction treatment programs includes a variety of therapeutic interventions, skill-building, and counseling to address every aspect of your addiction and mental health. 

What Do Muscle Relaxers Do to the Body?

Muscle relaxers, also known as spasmolytics, are medications that are used to reduce muscle spasms by inhibiting the nerve impulse that causes the muscles to contract. They are often prescribed for different types of muscular conditions and can help reduce the severity of muscle spasms. However, the main downfall of muscle relaxers is that they can cause drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and confusion in some people.

People who become addicted to prescription muscle relaxants may develop physical symptoms.
People who become addicted to prescription muscle relaxants may develop physical symptoms.

Embed the above “Muscle Relaxer Side Effects” Infographic to your Website

This Muscle Relaxer Side Effects infographic is provided with compliments of the We Level Up NJ addiction treatment center team. To use the above infographics, you agree to link back and attribute its source and owner at https://welevelupnj.com/treatment/muscle-relaxers/.

Muscle Relaxer Side Effects infographic image link: https://welevelupnj.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/thumbnail_Muscle-Relaxer-Side-Effects-1030×1030.png.

Skip to:

Learn more:

What Do Muscle Relaxers Do Exactly?

Muscle relaxers are a type of medication, typically prescribed for the relief of musculoskeletal pain, spasms, and other muscle-related conditions. These medications work by reducing the release of certain chemicals in the brain that are responsible for muscle tension, pain, and spasms. Muscle relaxers are generally prescribed to treat back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions, including fibromyalgia and arthritis.

What Does a Muscle Relaxer Do For Spasms? 

Muscle relaxers are also used to relieve muscle stiffness, cramping, and spasms not caused by medical conditions. Some of these medications act as sedatives, causing a feeling of relaxation or drowsiness, making them helpful for treating anxiety or insomnia. Muscle relaxers can also be used to relieve the feeling of pain caused by overexertion, fatigue, and repetitive motions.

Muscle relaxers can help reduce the intensity of muscle spasms and loosen the muscles to alleviate stiffness. They can also address the cramping and pain associated with spasms and help promote better relaxation and comfort. Muscle relaxers are used to relieve pain and discomfort caused by muscle spasms, cramping, and tightness.

What Do Muscle Relaxers Do to your Brain?

Muscle relaxers generally don’t have any effect on cognitive functioning or mood because they don’t cross the blood brain barrier. However, some research suggests that certain muscle relaxers can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion in some people. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects before beginning a muscle relaxer.

Prescription Muscle Relaxers Names In-depth Review

There are several prescription medications that are commonly used as muscle relaxants. Here are a few examples:

  1. Baclofen: This medication is used to treat spasms and muscle cramps caused by multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and other conditions.
  2. Carisoprodol: This medication is used to treat muscle spasms and pain caused by injuries or other conditions.
  3. Cyclobenzaprine: This medication is used to treat muscle spasms and pain caused by injuries or other conditions.
  4. Metaxalone: This medication is used to treat muscle spasms and pain caused by injuries or other conditions.
  5. Tizanidine: This medication is used to treat muscle spasms and pain caused by injuries or other conditions.

It’s important to note that muscle relaxants should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider. They can have side effects and may interact with other medications you are taking.

Muscle Relaxer Addiction Statistics

Additionally, in 2016, almost 70% of patients who received a prescription for a muscle relaxant also received a prescription for an opioid, which has the potential to result in harmful interactions. The researchers also discovered that, despite national guidelines indicating that this class of medications should almost always be avoided in individuals 65 years of age and older, muscle relaxants were prescribed disproportionately to older persons throughout this time period.


70%

70% of patients who received a prescription for a muscle relaxant also received a prescription for an opioid, which has the potential to result in harmful interactions

Source: Penn Medicine

67%

In 2016, 67 percent of the visits for continuing muscle relaxant use also included opioid therapy.

Source: Penn Medicine

22.2%

However, although making up just 14.5% of the U.S. population, older persons accounted for 22.2 percent of all visits for muscle relaxants in 2016.

Source: Penn Medicine


Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

Get Your Life Back

Find Hope & Recovery. Get Safe Comfortable Detox, Addiction Rehab & Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Care.

Hotline (877) 378-4154

Proper Use of Over The Counter Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxers act on the central nervous system, blocking pain sensations that would otherwise travel from sore and spasming muscles to the brain. This pain-blocking mechanism can contribute to the abuse of the medication and may result in addiction.
Muscle relaxers act on the central nervous system, blocking pain sensations that would otherwise travel from sore and spasming muscles to the brain. This pain-blocking mechanism can contribute to the abuse of the medication and may result in addiction.

While over-the-counter muscle relaxers exist, they may not be appropriate for all types of muscle conditions. Contact a doctor or speak with a pharmacist before taking any muscle relaxer.

Although skeletal muscle relaxants are occasionally the primary drug of abuse, they are often used along with other central nervous system depressants, such as narcotics or alcohol. The major toxic effects are respiratory depression and coma. 

While other drugs such as heroin and meth get a great deal of attention when it comes to abuse and addiction, the potential for muscle relaxers to become part of a user’s cocktail of preferred substance, if not the outright drug of choice, can’t be ignored, to determine the signs a person is addicted to prescription drugs such as muscle relaxers, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work.

There are cases in which some use alcohol as a muscle relaxer. However, it is discouraged by physicians because people can become psychologically and physically dependent on the effects. Also, while alcohol may have pleasant, relaxing effects in small doses, it can be quite harmful in larger ones.

Numerous types of medications can have negative interactions with alcohol. According to researchers at the University of Oklahoma, even moderate alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize drugs or enhance the effects of certain medications. Medication interactions can often cause excessive drowsiness and can result in liver problems. Types of drugs that interact with alcohol include antibiotics, antidepressants, pain medications, antihistamines, barbiturates, opioids, and muscle relaxants.

What Do Muscle Relaxers Do?

There are two types of muscles, smooth and striated. The molecules within muscle fibers are responsible for muscle contraction. A muscle spasm is an involuntary muscle contraction that can be very painful and uncomfortable. The contractions happen when the muscle lacks several nutrients. Nutrient deficiency in the muscles can occur for various reasons, such as fatigue, overuse, diabetes, exposure to excessive heat, kidney disease, and more. Muscle relaxers work by lessening the tightness or stiffness in the muscles, which decreases discomfort and pain. Some muscle relaxers target the central nervous system, while others target the muscles directly. 

Like all prescription medications, muscle relaxers should not be shared, misused, or abused. Taking muscle relaxer tablets more than the prescribed dosage or taking them more frequently than advised is highly dangerous and can lead to addiction. Muscle relaxers should also never be combined with antihistamines or alcohol. Despite the severity of muscle relaxer side effects, quitting them can be difficult to do for someone who has become dependent on this drug. 

Are Muscle Relaxers Addictive?

Wondering “are muscle relaxers addictive?” Yes, 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. Recommendations generally limit the use of these drugs to a maximum of three weeks since they have not been shown to work for muscle spasms beyond that duration. They can cause serious side effects including falls, fractures, vehicle crashes, abuse, dependence, and overdose.

It is important to note that some muscle relaxers have the potential to be abused and can cause dependence, while they are generally considered to be less addictive than other types of drugs, such as opioids. Although muscle relaxers are not generally considered to be highly addictive, they can cause physical dependence if they are taken for an extended period of time. This means that if a person stops taking the medication suddenly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, anxiety, and insomnia.

It’s important to use muscle relaxers only as directed by a healthcare provider and to be aware of the potential for dependence and abuse. If you are taking muscle relaxers and are concerned about addiction, it’s a good idea to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. They can help you determine the best course of treatment for your needs.

Muscle Relaxer Abuse

Muscle relaxers have the potential for abuse and addiction. In addition, extended and continuous use can lead to increased tolerance and physical dependence. For this reason, muscle relaxers are intended as a short-term treatment and not to be prescribed for more than 2-3 weeks.

Unfortunately, many people take muscle relaxers alone or in combination with other illegal drugs for nonmedical reasons, such as producing or enhancing feelings of dissociation and euphoria. 

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)[2], Carisoprodol (brand name Soma) is a Schedule IV drug and is one of the most commonly diverted and misused drugs. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [3] suggests never combining muscle relaxants such as Soma or Flexeril with alcohol and other substances or medications. Muscle relaxer abuse can lead to serious dangers, such as an increased risk of overdose, resulting in seizures, hallucinations, coma, and death.

Types Of Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxer abuse can have a number of harmful effects, including seizures, behavioral changes, and withdrawal. It is essential to recognize and understand these signs of addiction early, as long-term use can lead to worsened side effects.

Muscle relaxers reduce activity levels in muscle cells and change how the central nervous system transmits spasmodic messages. These chemical effects lead to the relaxation of muscle tissue and, in some situations, paralysis.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for an Accredited Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers in Near You?

Even if you have failed previously and relapsed, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about therapy alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

FREE Addiction Hotline – Call 24/7

The two main classes of muscle relaxers include:

Antispastics

This class of muscle relaxers is commonly prescribed to relieve and mitigate pain from spasms and other neurological conditions. It directly affects the spinal cord or the skeletal muscles to improve muscle tightness and spasms. This drug can help with conditions that cause spasms, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries.

  • Baclofen
    • This drug is sold under the brand name Lioresal or Gablofen. It is primarily used for spasticity in spinal cord injury patients or those with multiple sclerosis. The most common side effects include drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, vertigo, and nausea.
  • Tizanidine
    • It is sold under the brand name Zanaflex. This drug has both antispastic and antispasmodic effects. Individuals take it to help manage spasticity from spinal cord injuries or MS. Side effects may include drowsiness, itchiness, constipation, hallucinations, and low heart rate [4].
  • Dantrolene
    • This medication can help ease muscle spasticity. Brand names are, Revonto, Dantrium, and Ryanodex. Oral dantrolene may damage the liver.
    • The side effects of this drug may include breathing changes that happen due to weakness in the respiratory muscles and muscle weakness.
Taking muscle relaxers with alcohol is not recommended due to the potential for dangerous side effects.
Taking muscle relaxers with alcohol is not recommended due to the potential for dangerous side effects.

Antispasmodics

These are used during emergencies and surgical procedures and to cause paralysis. These drugs help reduce muscle spasms via the central nervous system. They inhibit the transmission of neurons in the brain.

There are two types of antispasmodics: benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines block certain chemicals in the brain, and nonbenzodiazepines act on the brain and spinal cord.

  • Diazepam
    • Diazepam is a benzodiazepine. Physicians may prescribe diazepam for severe muscle spasms and spasticity associated with neurological disorders. Diastat and Valium are common brand names of this drug. Common side effects of this drug include fatigue, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and loss of muscle movement.
  • Carisoprodol
    • Carisoprodol is a nonbenzodiazepine. Adults can take this medication to relieve severe, painful muscle conditions. A common brand name for this drug is Soma. It has the potential to be abused.
    • It can cause drowsiness and dizziness and isn’t recommended for long-term use or by those with a history of addiction. Doctors also warn people of the dangers of combining this medication with alcohol.
  • Cyclobenzaprine
    • Cyclobenzaprine is a nonbenzodiazepine. It can treat muscle spasms with serious muscle conditions when a person combines it with rest and physical therapy.
    • Amrix, Flexeril, and Fexmid are the brand names of this drug. Its sedative properties limit its use during the day. Common side effects may include dizziness, irritability, confusion, and headache.
  • Metaxalone
    • It is sold under the brand name Skelaxin. It has the lowest sedation potential and the fewest reported side effects of muscle relaxers.
    • People cannot take it with drugs that affect the amount of serotonin in the body due to the risk of serotonin syndrome.
    • Common side effects may include dizziness, irritability, an upset stomach, and headache.

Over The Counter Muscle Relaxers

An OTC muscle relaxer does not require a prescription, but it may bear the same risks as a prescription muscle relaxer. There are no over-the-counter muscle relaxers apart from a handful of topical preparations. In the case of the absence of OTC muscle relaxers, there are other typically recommended first-line treatment OTC drugs such as NSAIDs or other painkillers. For now, topical muscle relaxants are among the best muscle relaxers over the counter.

Common Muscle Relaxers

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.
  • Benzodiazepines. In addition to treating anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizure disorders like epilepsy, benzodiazepines can also treat muscle spasms and skeletal pain.
  • Carisoprodol (Soma). Carisoprodol relaxes muscles and eases pain and stiffness caused by acute bone and muscle problems, often caused by an injury.
  • Chlorzoxazone (Lorzone). Chlorzoxazone is used to relieve discomfort from acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid, FlexePax Kit, FusePaq Tabradol). Cyclobenzaprine eases stiffness and pain from muscle cramps, also called muscle spasms.
  • 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.
  • Metaxalone (Skelaxin, Metaxall, Metaxall CP, Lorvatus PharmaPak). Metaxalone targets pain and muscle spasms from sprains, strains, and muscle injuries.
  • 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.
  • Orphenadrine. Orphenadrine is a medication that relieves pain and stiffness caused by muscle injuries. It is available as an extended-release tablet.
  • Tizanidine (Comfort Pac with Tizanidine, Zanaflex). Tizanidine treats muscle spasms caused by spinal cord injuries and other conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
The 10 most common muscle relaxants are Tizanidine, Orphenadrine, Methocarbamol, Metaxalone, Dantrolene, Cyclobenzaprine, Chlorozoxazone, Carisoprodol, Benzodiazepines, Baclofen.
The 10 most common muscle relaxants are Tizanidine, Orphenadrine, Methocarbamol, Metaxalone, Dantrolene, Cyclobenzaprine, Chlorozoxazone, Carisoprodol, Benzodiazepines, Baclofen.

Embed the above “Most Common Over The Counter Muscle Relaxer” Infographic to your Website

This Most Common Over The Counter Muscle Relaxer infographic is provided with compliments of the We Level Up NJ addiction treatment center team. To use the above infographics, you agree to link back and attribute its source and owner at https://welevelupnj.com/treatment/muscle-relaxers/.

Most Common Over The Counter Muscle Relaxer infographic image link: https://welevelupnj.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/thumbnail_Most-Common-Over-The-Counter-Muscle-Relaxer-1030×1030.png.

Cannabis Muscle Relaxers

According to studies, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for marijuana’s euphoric effects, could also have a relaxing impact on the muscles.

The fact that cannabis is still illegal to cultivate, supply, and possess in many places limits research on its therapeutic benefits.

More research is therefore required to determine whether cannabis or the components it contains can reduce muscle spasticity or muscle spasms.

How Long Do Muscle Relaxers Stay In Your System?

Muscle relaxers act as central nervous system depressants and cause a sedative effect or prevent your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. The onset of action is rapid, and effects typically last from 4-6 hours.

Methocarbamol

Methocarbamol is an OTC nonbenzodiazepine, antispasmodic medication. It is sold under the brand name Robaxin. Usually prescribed to treat back pain, it’s considered less sedating than other options. Side effects may include drowsiness, headaches, confusion, dizziness, and an upset stomach.

Abuse and addiction to muscle relaxers may develop after receiving a prescription from a healthcare professional or after abusing them recreationally. Habitual, long-term use, and recreational use of prescription muscle relaxers, can lead to addiction requiring inpatient drug rehab.

5 Signs Of Muscle Relaxer Abuse

It is not easy for someone to identify the signs of muscle relaxer abuse and addiction, especially in cases where the person hides their use. Yet, identifying early signs and interventions may help prevent prescription drug abuse from becoming an addiction.

Discovering the common signs of muscle relaxer addiction may help loved ones intervene early in prevention.

1. Taking Muscle Relaxers Without a Prescription

Someone taking muscle relaxers without a prescription is at great risk of developing dependency, side effects, and addiction. Abuse of prescription muscle relaxers in a way not intended or prescribed by a qualified doctor is a sign of addiction.

A person who uses muscle relaxers outside the supervision of a doctor should be considered as potentially suffering from substance use disorder, particularly in recreational or long-term use cases.

Federal laws prohibit buying controlled substances such as sedatives, pain relievers, or stimulants without a valid prescription. Consuming prescription drugs without a prescription is not only dangerous but also illegal.

People who take high doses of these prescription drugs, or abuse them for nonmedical reasons, are at great risk of overdose. When muscle relaxers are combined with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol, dangerous side effects are likely.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Addiction & Mental Health Rehabilitation Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Addiction Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient rehab programs vary.

Addiction Helpline (877) 378-4154

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:

  • 15+ Years Experience
  • 100s of 5-Star Reviews
  • 10K+ Recovery Successes
  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Onsite Medical Detox Center
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Personal Development Events

2. Side Effects of Muscle Relaxer Abuse

Many people become addicted to prescription muscle relaxants after receiving a prescription from trusted doctors. Practitioners may attempt to treat muscle spasms and back pain with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as acetaminophen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

Only if these treatments fail, a doctor may prescribe skeletal muscle relaxants for short durations with physical therapy or alone.

Prescription muscle relaxants attach to GABA receptors and influence neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to sedative and relaxant effects.

Individuals who take muscle relaxants after treatment and others who abuse these drugs recreationally may become physically dependent on and addicted to them.

People who become addicted to prescription muscle relaxants may develop physical symptoms.

Some common side effects caused by short-term muscle relaxant abuse can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness or slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting

Long-term side effects of abusing muscle relaxers include:

  • Insomnia
  • Liver damage
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart failure
  • Tremors
  • Paralysis

3. Behavioral Changes

Behavioral changes may be the first signs a person exhibits addiction to these drugs. At first, these signs may be subtle. People who abuse muscle relaxants may start to remove themselves from family and friends.

As the addiction progresses, it can change the person’s physical health, mood, obligations, and engagement with professional and personal relationships.

When a person abuses muscle relaxants, behavioral changes become more obvious.

Behavioral signs of prescription drug abuse might include:

  • Refilling prescription medications often.
  • Taking a higher dose of medication than recommended or prescribed
  • Doctor shopping or switching doctors to get multiple prescriptions.
  • Getting prescription drugs through unauthorized means
  • Stealing or hiding funds used to cover expenses of drug use

4. Symptoms of Muscle Relaxer Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms caused by muscle relaxers happen when a person who has become dependent or addicted to the substance suddenly stops using them. These symptoms occur as the body and brain struggle to adapt to chemical changes.

This may happen when a person simply forgets to take a medication or cannot purchase more of the drug.

Muscle relaxer withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Chills and sweating
  • Irritability or agitation

These withdrawal symptoms can last several days, up to a few weeks, or more. Withdrawal from prescription muscle relaxants can be physically painful and need medical assistance.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Addiction & Mental Health Programs. Complete Behavioral Health Inpatient Rehab, Detox plus Co-occuring Disorders Therapy.

CALL (877) 378-4154

End the Addiction Pain. End the Emotional Rollercoaster. Get Your Life Back. Start Drug, Alcohol & Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Treatment Now. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Substance Abuse Specialists Who Understand Addiction & Mental Health Recovery & Know How to Help.

5. Drug-Seeking Behavior

Drug-seeking behavior is portrayed by a person’s powerful urge and desire to use prescription drugs, leading to impulsive, manipulative, and other high-risk behaviors.

Individuals who become dependent on or addicted to prescription medications may go to great lengths to get them.

Individuals with a prescription drug use disorder may behave deceitfully with family members and doctors.

Common drug-seeking behaviors include:

  • Scams to get prescription medicines
  • Assertive demands for a specific drug
  • Mood disturbances and suicidal thoughts
  • High-risk or impulsive behaviors, such as theft
  • Buying illegal prescription medications on the street

Can You Overdose On Muscle Relaxers?

Muscle relaxant overdose symptoms can occur if the person takes a higher dose than prescribed. Other factors that can increase one’s risk of a muscle relaxer overdose include increased tolerance, age, gender, polysubstance, and recreational use. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxers?

Muscle relaxants are ideally prescribed for acute rather than chronic pain. They may be an option if the pain prevents you from getting enough sleep. Since muscle relaxants cause drowsiness, they can help you get rest when you take them at night. The most common side effects include:

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

Warnings For Prescription Muscle Relaxers

Carisoprodol and diazepam, two muscle relaxants, have a history of habit formation. Be careful to take your prescription exactly as your doctor has instructed.

Seizures and hallucinations (feeling things that are not real), which are withdrawal symptoms, can also be brought on by muscle relaxants. Avoid stopping your medication abruptly, especially if you’ve been taking it for a while.

Additionally, muscle relaxants lower your central nervous system (CNS), making it difficult to focus or maintain consciousness. Avoid engaging in tasks that call for mental focus or coordination while using a muscle relaxant, such as operating heavy equipment or driving a car.

Muscle relaxants shouldn’t be taken with:

  • Alcohol
  • CNS depressants like opioids or psychotropics
  • Sedatives
  • Sleep aids
  • Herbal remedies like St. John’s wort

If any of the following apply, consult your doctor about using muscle relaxants safely:

  • Are over the age of 65
  • Have a brain illness or mental health issue
  • Have a liver condition

Can You Drink On Muscle Relaxers?

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.

Are Muscle Relaxers An Opioid?

Muscle relaxant/opioid/NSAID combinations treat musculoskeletal conditions and pain. They work by reducing inflammation and pain and relaxing muscles. Aspirin, Carisoprodol, and Codeine help to relieve pain and stiffness in muscles caused by strains, sprains, or other injuries to your muscles.

Can You Get High On Muscle Relaxers?

Benzodiazepines (often abbreviated as “benzos”) such as oxazepam and diazepam (Valium) are sedatives that are usually used as anti-anxiety medications but can often treat back pain and muscle spasms. Researchers believe these drugs work by tamping down on nerve activity by modifying neurotransmitters. Benzodiazepines are also addictive and carry the risk of overdose. Be sure to take them only and precisely as your doctor indicates.

On the other hand, Methocarbamol isn’t a narcotic. It’s a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and muscle relaxant used to treat muscle spasms, tension, and pain. It may be mistaken for a narcotic due to side effects like drowsiness and dizziness, which can feel like a drug “high.”

Muscle Relaxers And Alcohol

Similar to muscle relaxers, alcohol is a depressant. Depressants are substances that slow down the central nervous system, which both muscle relaxers and alcohol do. When muscle relaxers and alcohol are combined, they magnify each other’s effects.

Despite being consumed at events and socially, alcohol is a depressant. The side effects of alcohol mirror many of the side effects of muscle relaxers. The side effects that alcohol causes include the following:

  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Altered vision
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Confusion or the inability to think clearly
  • Dizziness, problems with balance, and trouble walking
  • Impaired judgment and poor decision-making skills
  • Motor skill impairment
  • Poor memory and trouble concentrating

When muscle relaxers are mixed with alcohol, the chances of experiencing these side effects greatly increase. Additionally, when muscle relaxers and alcohol are mixed, the effects of each substance are intensified. This can be extremely dangerous, leading to serious health problems like respiratory depression and death.

Do Muscle Relaxers Show Up On A Drug Test?

Are you wondering do muscle relaxers show up on a drug test? Yes, muscle relaxers can show up on a drug test. However, it depends on the specific muscle relaxer being used and the type of drug test being administered. Common muscle relaxers include cyclobenzaprine, carisoprodol, and metaxalone. These medications may be detected on a drug test, but it depends on the specific test being used.

For example, some drug tests, such as urine or saliva tests, may be able to detect muscle relaxers for a short period of time after use. However, other tests, such as hair tests, may be able to detect muscle relaxers for a longer period of time.

In short when researching “do muscle relaxers show up on a drug test” it is important to note that the detection time for muscle relaxers can vary depending on a number of factors, including the person’s metabolism, the dosage and frequency of use, and the presence of other medications or drugs in the body.

Do muscle relaxers show up on a 10-panel drug test? Standard drug testing does not include muscle relaxants. However, you might want to keep in mind the detection window of your medicine for drug tests that include certain compounds in muscle relaxants.

Several examples include:

Baclofen

  • Blood Test: 72 hours
  • Urine Test: 48 hours-10 days
  • Saliva Test: 48-72 hours

Flexeril

  • Blood Test: Up to 10 days
  • Urine Test: Up to 4 days
  • Saliva Test: 3-10 days

Soma

  • Blood Test: 24 hours
  • Urine Test: 2-3 days
  • Saliva Test: Up to 4 hours

Get Help With Muscle Relaxers Addiction In New Jersey

Someone dependent on or addicted to prescription muscle relaxers should seek addiction treatment. Drug treatment programs are designed to medically support addicted individuals as they detox and experience withdrawal symptoms.

During your rehabilitation, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. 

We Level Up NJ provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our medically-assisted Detox Program. So, reclaim your life. Call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

alternatives to benzodiazepines
Reach out at We Level Up NJ today!

If you are addicted to drugs like muscle relaxers, your first step in recovery should be a detox in a safe and medically supervised setting. That is why We Level Up is here for you. We Level Up detox center medically assists patients in clearing their systems of addictive substances, such as alcohol and addictive substances.

We know that just stopping use can cause severe mental distress for anyone suffering from addiction. Inpatient rehab will help you manage the medical detox process.

The most effective treatments for muscle relaxers addiction are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency management interventions. For example, the Matrix Model—a 16-week comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities—effectively reduces muscle relaxers’ misuse.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of muscle relaxers withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give the necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

How-Long-Does-It-Take-To-Detox-From-Alcohol
You have a few options for muscle relaxers and drug abuse treatment facilities. Connect with us today at We Level Up to learn more!

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with muscle relaxers addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – An effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression. Cognitive behavior therapy has been evaluated as particularly effective for treating muscle relaxers addiction and co-occurring disorders of depression and anxiety.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – A comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – A strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution-Focused Therapy – An approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual-diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both conditions done by the same team or provider.

We Level Up thorough approach to rehabilitation supports several levels of care to ensure the best possible outcome for every patient who enters our doors.  From an intensive and more supportive atmosphere for those in the early days of recovery to a comfortable residential-style living dynamic upon completion of detox, We Level Up is here to help guide you down the safe, medication-assisted treatment and results-based path to sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with muscle relaxers addiction or similar drugs, call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to an addiction & behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 100s 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You


10 Most Common Muscle Relaxers FAQs

  1. Does a muscle relaxer help with pain?

    Yes. Muscle relaxants are used in addition to rest, physical therapy, and other measures to relieve discomfort. 

  2. Are there any over the counter muscle relaxers?

    No muscle relaxants are available over the counter in the U.S., but some OTC medications can have muscle-relaxing effects. 

  3. Do muscle relaxers make you sleepy?

    In contrast to chronic pain, muscle relaxants are best indicated for acute pain. If pain is keeping you from obtaining adequate sleep, they might be an alternative. When used at night, muscle relaxants can help you sleep since they make you drowsy.

  4. How do muscle relaxers work?

    Muscle relaxants work by causing the muscles to become less tense or stiff, which in turn reduces pain and discomfort.

  5. How do muscle relaxers make you feel?

    Because muscle relaxants are total body relaxants, they typically induce grogginess or sleepiness. As a result, it is not safe to drive or make important decisions while taking muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants are often suggested for evening use due to their sedative effect.

  6. What happens if you take too many muscle relaxers?

    Muscle relaxant abuse can lead to serious dangers such as an increased risk of overdose, which can result in a stupor. hallucinations. seizures.

  7. Is meloxicam a muscle relaxer?

    No, meloxicam is a potent painkiller that needs a doctor’s prescription. It can be found as a normal tablet, a tablet that dissolves, a capsule, or a liquid for oral suspension.

  8. How long do muscle relaxers last?

    The onset of action is rapid, and effects typically last from 4-6 hours.

  9. How fast does muscle relaxers work?

    Some muscle relaxants start working within 30 minutes of taking them, and the effects can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours.

  10. Can muscle relaxers stop your heart?

    The medication may result in cardiac arrhythmias (heart rate or rhythm problems). If you already have cardiac issues or take medication to manage depression, your risk may be increased. Heart attacks and strokes may result from these problems if they are not addressed.

Search For We Level Up NJ Muscle Relaxers & Other Resources
Sources:

[1] Elder NC. Abuse of skeletal muscle relaxants. Am Fam Physician. 1991 Oct;44(4):1223-6. PMID: 1927837. – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1927837/
[2] Soma Fast Facts – https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs10/10913/10913p.pdf – Drug Enforcement Administration
[3] Prevent Opioid Misuse – https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/patients/prevent-misuse.html – Centers for Disease Control and Administration
[4] Tizanidine – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601121.htmlU.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health
[5] We Level UpPrescription Drug Abuse

Baclofen [package insert]. (2016). Philadelphia, PA: Lannett Co, Inc.

Bordoni B, et al. (2022). Muscle cramps.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499895/

Bounds CG, et al. (2021). Benzodiazepines.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470159/

Carisoprodol [package insert]. (2016). Kansas City, MO: Nostrum Laboratories, Inc.

Cashin AG, et al. (2021). Efficacy, acceptability, and safety of muscle relaxants for adults with non-specific low back pain: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n1446

Tags: