Muscle Relaxant Use and Abuse

Muscle Relaxant Use and Abuse

Muscle relaxants are commonly prescribed to patients along with plenty of rest and physical therapy. There are several different types of muscle relaxants but the type that completely blocks transmission of nervous signals to the muscles are called 'neuromuscular-blockers'. Muscle relaxers are very effective medications because they work by blocking the pain which allows the muscle to heal.

Common Muscle Relaxers

  • Soma (Generic form Carisoprodol)
  • Flexeril (Generic form Cyclobenzaprine)
  • Naprosyn (Generic form Naproxen)
  • Baclofen (Generic form for Lioresal and Gablofen)
  • Diazepam (Generic form for Valium)
  • Robaxin (Generic form Methocarbamol)
  • Norflex (Generic form Orphenadrine)

Muscle Relaxant Abuse

The abuse of prescription drugs has sharply risen over the past several years but you wouldn't think muscle relaxers would be among the medications many people would choose to abuse but surprisingly, they are. A muscle relaxant is used to relieve muscle spasms and mild to severe muscle pain but there are other reasons some people choose to misuse them.

Most of the time when muscle relaxers are abused, they're used in combination with other drugs. When muscle relaxants are abused they're commonly combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and narcotic medications.

The reason behind this is because muscle relaxers may prolong the effects of alcohol or narcotic drugs and might even increase the effects which could possibly make them a more sought after prescription drug. Muscle relaxers are a lot cheaper and much easier to get than narcotic pain medications also. Prescriptions for muscle relaxers are much easier to obtain from a physician than narcotic pain medications are so combining them with other alcohol and other central nervous system depressants is a choice some people make to enhance the effects. Unfortunately, combining muscle relaxers with alcohol, narcotics or benzodiazepines is a highly dangerous choice.

Commonly Used and Abused Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are depressants; they produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety, relieve muscle spasms and prevent seizures. The most commonly abused benzodiazepines are prescription medications which include Valium, Xanax, Halcion, Ativan and Klonopin.

Commonly Used and Abused Narcotic Pain Medications

Narcotic medications are opioid pain relievers which are one of the most common types of drugs abused among people of all ages today. Narcotic painkillers include Codeine, Fentanyl, Demerol, MS Contin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Percodan, Tramadol, Vicodin and Hydromorphone.

Muscle Relaxant Side Effects

Muscle relaxants are very powerful drugs and like most all medications, there are always side effects a person could possibly experience and some of them are extremely serious. It's never a good idea to take muscle relaxers or any other prescription drug without knowing what the side effects are. Each muscle relaxant has its own set of possible side effects that may be experienced and some are less serious than others. Some of the side effects associated with muscle relaxants include:

  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Discolored urine
  • Respiratory failure
  • Possible dependency

Muscle Relaxant Withdrawal Symptoms

If a person has to take muscle relaxers for an extended period of time because they can be addictive, symptoms of withdrawal may be experienced if they suddenly stop taking them. The same thing holds true for anyone abusing muscle relaxants for an extended period of time and they eventually develop an addiction to them. Some of the withdrawal symptoms from muscle relaxant dependency may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Possible hallucinations
  • Possible seizures

Unfortunately today many different types of drugs are abused and muscle relaxants are no exception. Abusing high doses of muscle relaxers by themselves or combining them with alcohol or other drugs is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal. Combining alcohol with any prescription drug can be dangerous and choosing to mix drugs together to enhance a high is a mistake many people have made with fatal results.


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