What are Muscle Relaxers Medicine?
Muscle Relaxers Medicine or Muscle Relaxant Pills are medications used to treat acute muscle pain and discomfort caused by muscle spasms. Muscle spasms are involuntary contractions that cause excessive strain in muscles and are often associated with conditions such as lower back pain and neck pain.
Medications used as Muscle Relaxers Medicine can differ in their chemical structures and the way they work in the brain. In general, Muscle Relaxers Medicine 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.
Some of the common side effects of Muscle Relaxers Medicine include:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased blood pressure
The most commonly prescribed Muscle Relaxers Medicine are carisoprodol (Soma) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril).
Uses of Muscle Relaxant Pills To Treat Pain?
Muscle Relaxant Pills are typically used to treat acute muscle problems, though they are sometimes incorporated into the treatment of chronic pain conditions that involve painful muscle spasms.
These medicines act at several sites in the body to reduce muscle tone and relax tight, tense muscles. Some of these medicines have direct effects on skeletal muscle fibers, while others influence both nerves and muscles. Baclofen is an antispasmodic medicine that works at the level of the spinal cord, and treats spasticity caused by spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.
Benzodiazepines like Valium can relieve muscle spasms from its action at the spinal cord as well. Long-term use of Valium for chronic pain is controversial due to problems with sleep, dependence, and withdrawal.
Tizanidine or Zanaflex reduces spasticity at the level of the spinal cord and is indicated for the treatment of spasticity associated with spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. It may have additional pain relieving properties that may be useful for treating chronic pain conditions as well.
Drugs like Soma work at the spinal cord level and may add in relieving short-term muscle pain. Side effects of Muscle Relaxant Pills typically include sedation, and, therefore, you may need to reserve the medication for nighttime use.
How do Muscle Relaxant Pills work?
Antispasmodic Muscle Relaxant Pills like Soma or Robaxin for acute injury do not work on the muscle itself. They work on the central nervous system (CNS) and cause CNS depression. CNS depression causes sedation and muscle-relaxing activity.
The antispastic muscle relaxant dantrolene does not work on the CNS directly. Dantrolene works on the skeletal muscle, affecting the contractile response, causing relaxation. Baclofen is also an antispastic muscle relaxant. The way that baclofen works is not entirely understood, but it is thought to cause CNS depression.
Valium is a benzodiazepine. Although it is usually used for anxiety, it is sometimes prescribed for its muscle-relaxant effects. Valium works on a neurotransmitter called GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, causing its relaxing effects.
What are Muscle Relaxant Pills used for?
Indications depend on the specific drug. Examples include:
- Acute, painful musculoskeletal injury
- Back pain or low back pain
- Neck pain
- Pinched nerve
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injury
- Stiff person syndrome
Muscle Relaxant Pills are most commonly used to relieve muscle spasms from an acute, painful injury. These medications should be used for short-term use. They should also be used along with rest, physical therapy, and ice or heat—your healthcare professional can give medical advice on these other measures.
Some Muscle Relaxant Pills are used for their muscle-relaxing activity, but they are not used for your typical acute muscle injury. For example, Lioresal (baclofen) is a muscle relaxant and antispastic. It treats spasms (spasticity) related to multiple sclerosis, and sometimes due to spinal cord diseases or conditions. Dantrium (dantrolene) also treats spasticity from conditions like multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, strokes, or cerebral palsy.
Types of Muscle Relaxant Pills
Antispasmodics (for acute musculoskeletal conditions)
Antispasmodics are traditionally used for acute, painful musculoskeletal injuries. For example, if you “throw out” your back and can’t move, an antispasmodic may be appropriate, if an NSAID is not adequate. Some examples of antispasmodics are Flexeril, Robaxin, Soma, and Norflex.
Antispastics, such as Lioresal and Dantrium, are not used for acute muscle injury. They can treat spasms from conditions like multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury. Dantrium also treats strokes and cerebral palsy.
Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine that treats anxiety. However, it can also help relax muscles. Valium can treat muscle spasms due to muscle injury as well as due to upper motor neuron disorders such as cerebral palsy.
Who can take Muscle Relaxant Pills?
Generally, adult men can take Muscle Relaxant Pills unless they fall under one of the restrictions below.
Generally, adult women can take Muscle Relaxant Pills unless they are pregnant or fall under one of the other restrictions below.
Because most Muscle Relaxant Pills have not been studied in children, they are generally not prescribed to pediatric patients. Dantrolene may be used in pediatric patients for certain chronic conditions that cause spasticity, such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis.
Older adults should generally not take Muscle Relaxant Pills because of the side effects and risks associated with them. Muscle Relaxant Pills are listed on the Beers List of potentially inappropriate medications for older adults. The Beers List guidelines state that older adults poorly tolerate most Muscle Relaxant Pills due to the side effects, sedation, and increased risk of fractures.
Muscle Relaxant Pills restrictions
Tell your doctor about all of the medical conditions you have. Some Muscle Relaxant Pills are associated with liver problems. If you have liver or kidney/urinary problems or glaucoma, this could affect whether a muscle relaxant is safe for you to take, depending on the particular medication.
Besides the general restrictions listed above, consult your healthcare provider for individual advice on the safety of a muscle relaxant, because everyone has different symptoms and a unique medical history that can affect which medication is safest and most appropriate for you.
Muscle Relaxers Medicine and alcohol
Do not drink alcohol while taking a muscle relaxant. Alcohol and other CNS depressants can cause additive effects when combined with a muscle relaxant.
- Do not drive or operate machinery while taking a muscle relaxant.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should take your muscle relaxant with food or on an empty stomach.
- If you are taking a muscle relaxant and have symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, seek emergency medical treatment.
- When discontinuing a muscle relaxant, ask your healthcare provider if you should taper it slowly. Some Muscle Relaxant Pills can lead to withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly.
Can you take Muscle Relaxant Pills while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Generally, Muscle Relaxant Pills are not prescribed to women who are pregnant. There are not enough studies to establish safety in this population. Therefore, Muscle Relaxant Pills should only be prescribed if the healthcare provider determines that benefits outweigh risks. Muscle Relaxant Pills are generally not used in breastfeeding mothers. Consult your healthcare provider for medical advice if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Are Muscle Relaxant Pills controlled substances?
Soma and Valium are controlled substances. This means they have a potential for abuse and dependence. Avoid these medications if you have a history of a substance use disorder. The other Muscle Relaxant Pills are not controlled substances.
Common Muscle Relaxant Pills side effects
Specific side effects can vary by the drug and dosage. The most common side effects of Muscle Relaxant Pills include:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- GI (gastrointestinal) problems like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea
- Impaired coordination
- Tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
This is not a full list of possible side effects. Other side effects may occur. Ask your doctor what side effects you should expect and how to address them.
How much do Muscle Relaxant Pills cost?
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