Flexeril side effects can be bothersome, but some people abuse the drug.
About Flexeril 10mg
Flexeril, or cyclobenzaprine, is a muscle relaxant that some people can misuse to get a high. It is supposed to be used with physical therapy and rest for musculoskeletal conditions such as injury or pain. Cyclobenzaprine blocks pain sensations that are headed for the brain. The general Flexeril dosage is 5mg, taken 3 times per day, but it can be increased to 10mg; however, it is not recommended to take Flexeril for more than three weeks. For those with liver problems or the elderly, the dosage of the medication should be less frequent. Patients who have taken an MAO inhibitor within two weeks should not take cyclobenzaprine, as life-threatening side effects may occur. In addition, patients who have had particular health conditions, such as a recent heart attack, a heart rhythm disorder, congestive heart failure, heart block, or an overactive thyroid should not take cyclobenzaprine. Alcohol should be avoided while taking the medications, since Flexeril can impair reaction and thinking. People should be cautious if they are taking it with cold and allergy medications, narcotics, sleeping pills, or medications for depression, anxiety, or seizures. These medications can lead to increased sleepiness. Additionally, patients should warn their doctors if they have urination problems, an enlarged prostate, liver disease, or glaucoma. For pregnant patients, this medication is “category B” and “is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby”. It is unknown “whether cyclobenzaprine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby”. The medication should be taken with water, and it should only be used if it is part of a regular treatment program that includes rest, other pain relief methods, and physiotherapy.1
What are the Flexeril Side Effects?
There are many side effects associated with cyclobenzaprine, such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness. Flexeril can cause agitation, especially in elderly patients. The medication has sedative effects “likely due to its antagonistic effect on histamine, serotonin, and muscarinic receptors”. It is possible to overdose. Other Flexeril side effects include tachycardia, “cardiac arrest, cardiac dysrhythmias, severe hypotension, seizures, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome”. More harm is possible if certain drugs or alcohol are combined with cyclobenzaprine. As noted before, patients should avoid MAOIs while taking the medication, as well as tricyclic antidepressants and “central nervous system depressants” such as barbiturates, opioids, or benzodiazepines.2 Some other serious Flexeril side effects include uneven heartbeat, chest pain, one-sided weakness or numbness, balance, speech or vision problems, headache, confusion, fainting, nausea, jaundice, stomach pain, seizure, hallucinations, bleeding, or bruising. Milder side effects include tiredness, blurred vision, dry mouth, appetite loss, digestive problems and muscle weakness.3
Flexeril High and Abuse
Flexeril is supposed to be used to treat muscle pain from inflammation in the neck, low back, or an extremity, and it can treat muscle spasms in certain patients, such as those with muscular dystrophy. Cyclobenzaprine is meant to be used in the short term, for injury recovery. The dosages available include “5, 10, 20 and 30 milligram tablets…taken up to three times per day”. There is even a cream form. When taken correctly, cyclobenzaprine does not create a “high” or “altered state”. Some people take too much of the medication to “produce a Flexeril high”. In general, when trying to accomplish that, a user would end up with “marked drowsiness that may be difficult to shake”. The consequences of chasing that high include overdose, seizures, cardiac arrest, hypotension, and CNS depression.4 The “high” is really just drowsiness, and the medication can disrupt neurotransmitters and could even lead to ataxia “in which you lose control of your muscle movements”.5 There are several rare side effects of Flexeril, including abnormal liver function tests and heart rhythm, blockage of bile, bronchospasm, inability to empty the bladder, depression and confusion, painful urination, faintness, fast heartbeat, hives, hepatitis, skin inflammation and itching, allergic reaction, psychosis, seizures, difficulty breathing, indigestion, and more.6 Patients trying to seek a high may be looking for “heroin-like” effects, but the consequences far outweigh any benefits. Liver damage is a great risk, in addition to all of the serious side effects listed earlier.7 One of the medications found in Whitney Houston’s body was cyclobenzaprine, and “in 2012, doctors wrote over 26 million prescriptions for it”. Those people who choose to abuse the medication often combine it with other depressants or alcohol “to induce deep states of relaxation”. Even though Flexeril is not considered “addictive”, it “can cause an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome”. Doctors often taper the medication off so that patients have less flu-like symptoms upon withdrawal. People who abuse cyclobenzaprine often take other medications with it, or they try to use it as a sleeping pill or to have “legs of jelly” or to feel as if they are floating out of their body. Unfortunately, the potential for cyclobenzaprine abuse is increasing since another muscle relaxant, called Soma, is now “a Schedule IV Controlled Substance”. The “street name” for cyclobenzaprine is “mellow yellow or cyclone”.8
Learn about Flexeril vs. chiropractic care.