Cyclobenzaprine, marketed as Flexeril (among other names), is a drug designed to relieve pain in skeletal muscles. It does this by blocking the nerve impulses that would otherwise travel to the brain and communicate pain. Flexeril is effective against painful muscle spasms as it does relax muscles. As with other similar drugs, it's not altogether clear how Flexeril works, though it has shown to be effective against a wide range of muscle pain. While it is not yet approved for the application, cyclobenzaprine has also been used to ease the pain associated with fibromyalgia. This drug is for the short-term treatment of acute pain, as it tends to lose its effect rather quickly. As soon as benefits from taking Flexeril are no longer apparent, the drug should be discontinued.
Who should not use Flexeril
Flexeril may interact with a number of other medications, most notably MAO inhibitors. If you're taking these drugs, you may not be able to take Flexeril until they have completely left your system. In addition, you should not take this drug if you have any heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure or heart rhythm issues. A recent heart attack also rules out Flexeril, as does having hyperthyroidism.
There have been no tests regarding Flexeril's effects on unborn babies or whether the drug passes into breast milk. If you are currently pregnant, attempting to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, then discuss Flexeril with your doctor before making the decision to take the medication. While it's not expected to be an issue in these instances, it is preferable to prevent fetal or infant exposure to untested products if possible.
Flexeril side effects
The most common side effects with Flexeril include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, and muscle weakness. You may also experience persistent dry mouth, gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and gas, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. Some people have an allergy to Flexeril, which can be dangerous if it's not treated immediately. Discuss the symptoms of a Flexeril allergy with your doctor, as well as what to look out for, and make sure you know what to do should such symptoms appear.
Cautions while using Flexeril
Flexeril should always be taken exactly as prescribed, as it is associated with a number of serious overdose complications. A rapid heartbeat and marked drowsiness are the most common side effects of an overdose, but fatal events do occur. It can cause dysrhythmia or cardiac arrest, very low blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures. Very rare cases have resulted in neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which can cause permanent damage to your memory and may result in death.
As with other muscle relaxants, Flexeril should never be taken in conjunction with alcohol consumption. Using this drug may make you drowsy, so do not operate a motor vehicle or other machinery until you know how it will affect you. Sleeping pills, allergy medications, and seizure medications may also compound the drowsiness. Get plenty of rest and faithfully adhere to whatever physical therapy your doctor has recommended in conjunction with Flexeril in order to have the best possible chance at a swift and complete recovery.