Cyclobenzaprine relaxes your muscles and eases muscle pain. It treats muscle spasms due to injuries or strains. You take it by mouth as a pill or a capsule and usually take it with rest and physical therapy. It should only be used for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. This article will explain what Cyclobenzaprine is, how it works, how to administer it, and what side effects and interactions it may have.
What is Cyclobenzaprine?
Cyclobenzaprine is the generic name for a drug sold under different brand names, such as Fexmid, Amrix, Comfort Pac with Cyclobenzaprine, and Flexeril. It is not safe for kids under 15 years old.
Cyclobenzaprine is used for short-term muscle spasm treatment, usually for 2 to 3 weeks. It is inappropriate for long-term or regular use, as it may make you dependent or trigger withdrawal symptoms. It is also unsuitable for other muscle problems, such as tightness or twitching.
How Does Cyclobenzaprine Work?
Cyclobenzaprine affects brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals send messages between your nerve cells and muscles. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin, which affects your mood, sleep, appetite, and pain sensations. Cyclobenzaprine may increase serotonin levels in your brain, lowering muscle pain messages. This may also explain why Cyclobenzaprine makes you sleepy or dizzy as a side effect.
Another neurotransmitter that Cyclobenzaprine may affect is norepinephrine, which affects your alertness, attention, and stress response. Cyclobenzaprine may lower norepinephrine in your brain and lower pain messages from your muscles to your brain. This may also explain why Cyclobenzaprine causes dry mouth and constipation as side effects.
How to Use Cyclobenzaprine?
Cyclobenzaprine is available in different forms and doses. The most common form is an oral tablet in 5 or 10-mg doses. There is also an extended-release capsule in 15 mg or 30 mg doses. The extended-release capsule releases the drug slowly over time and may have fewer side effects than the tablet.
Cyclobenzaprine dose and frequency depend on age, weight, health condition, and response to treatment. Your doctor will prescribe the lowest effective dose for you and change it as needed. You should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and take only what is prescribed.
It would be most beneficial if you took Cyclobenzaprine with or without food, as recommended by your doctor. You should swallow the tablet or capsule whole and not crush, chew, or break it. Try taking Cyclobenzaprine simultaneously daily to keep the drug steady.
It would be best to stop taking Cyclobenzaprine suddenly without your doctor’s advice. If you stop taking it, you may have withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headaches, tiredness, or trouble sleeping. Your doctor will tell you how to lower the dose gradually to avoid these symptoms.
Do not consume kratom and alcohol while taking Cyclobenzaprine. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and breathing problems. Moreover, opioid alternatives such as kratom can also cause more drowsiness and breathing problems when taken with Cyclobenzaprine
What Are Cyclobenzaprine’s Side Effects and Interactions?
Cyclobenzaprine may cause mild side effects that go away on their own. The most common ones are dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, and headaches. These side effects may be more likely to happen in older adults or people who take higher doses of Cyclobenzaprine.
Cyclobenzaprine may also cause serious side effects that need medical attention. These include allergic reactions, heart problems, serotonin syndrome, and seizures. You should call your doctor right away or get emergency help if you have any of the following symptoms while taking Cyclobenzaprine:
- Allergic reactions: rash, hives, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, trouble breathing or swallowing.
- Heart problems: fainting, fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath.
- Serotonin syndrome: agitation, hallucinations, confusion, tremors, muscle stiffness or twitching, fever, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
- Seizures: loss of consciousness, convulsions.
Cyclobenzaprine may also interact with other medications or substances, increasing side effects or reducing its effectiveness. It would be best to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all your medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products. You should also avoid drinking alcohol while taking Cyclobenzaprine.
Some of the medications or substances that interact with Cyclobenzaprine are:
- MAO inhibitors: these are antidepressants that can cause a dangerous rise in serotonin levels when used with Cyclobenzaprine. You should not take Cyclobenzaprine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. Examples of MAO inhibitors are isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
- Other antidepressants: these include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and others. They can also increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when taken with Cyclobenzaprine. Examples of these antidepressants are fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor), amitriptyline (Elavil), and bupropion (Wellbutrin).
- Antihistamines: These medications treat allergies and colds. They can also cause more drowsiness and dry mouth when taken with Cyclobenzaprine. Examples of antihistamines are diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra).
- Anticholinergics: medications that affect the nervous system and can cause dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and trouble urinating when taken with Cyclobenzaprine. Examples of anticholinergics are oxybutynin (Ditropan), tolterodine (Detrol), dicyclomine (Bentyl), and scopolamine (Transderm Scop).
- Other muscle relaxants: these include baclofen (Lioresal), carisoprodol (Soma), methocarbamol (Robaxin), and tizanidine (Zanaflex). They can also cause more drowsiness and muscle weakness when taken with Cyclobenzaprine.
- Other medications that affect the brain or nervous system: these include drugs for anxiety, sleep, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, infections, nausea, and vomiting. They can also increase the risk of serotonin syndrome or cause more drowsiness when taken with Cyclobenzaprine. Examples of these medications are alprazolam (Xanax), zolpidem (Ambien), phenobarbital (Luminal), primidone (Mysoline), benztropine (Cogentin), trihexyphenidyl (Artane), sumatriptan (Imitrex), linezolid (Zyvox), ondansetron (Zofran), and many others.
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