Muscular spasms can occur all of a sudden in any part of your body. It is an involuntary condition, and it can get triggered if you have muscular pains or if you are living with excessive levels of stress. Also, people who suffer from dehydration and those who exercise (without warming-up) are likely to experience muscular twitching or cramping. It is known to occur to people who work out in extremely hot weather conditions. Clinical studies have identified a few people as more vulnerable to spams; these include women who are pregnant, people with excessive bodyweight, sportspeople and elders. Cyclobenzaprine is a muscle-relaxing drug. It is used for the treatment of spasms and cramping of muscles. Knowledge of side effects it can trigger is helpful to ensure safer intake.

A muscular spasm is not a very serious condition. The parts commonly affected include your limbs, abdomen, muscles surrounding your ribcage as well as thighs. However, in a few instances, these may be due to impairment of nerves. Also, not all cramps can result in pains. Some may result in a mild twitch, moving your muscles involuntarily. But, if whole of a muscle gets cramped, you may find it very painful. Some muscular discomforts may occur due to a thyroid condition as well as nerve-related diseases. Nerve-related health problems can also lead to other symptoms, such as – slow down of movements, weakness, doubling of vision, insomnia or other sleep disorders, tingling, numbness, etc. In some people, conditions associated with nerves have also resulted in improper coordination of motor function or sometimes, a paralytic condition.

As per American osteoarthritic association, you are advised to immediately discontinue an activity that is triggering a spasm (for instance, working out), massage it gradually, stretch-out the cramped muscle and apply heat or icepacks (to treat tightness or soreness of muscles). Usage of drugs is also recommended to people if cramping is acute or if the pain is severe. Drugs like cyclobenzaprine are prescribed only for a short span of time. The drug’s main function is to relax your muscles and help relieve conditions like cramping or spasms.

Use of cyclobenzaprine

This drug is often prescribed along with physical therapy as well as rest. Its use is however not recommended among elders or older patients. Aged people can develop a few severe side effects. In general, this drug is taken either before or after meal. It is advised not to chew or crush the pill; instead, swallow it with water. However, people who find it difficult to swallow can cut the capsule and take the ingredients along with apple juice.

Always remember cyclobenzaprine is taken for less than 14 days. It is not advised to take the drug for a longer period of time. It is also not recommended to enhance its dosage strength without talking to your treating doctor or pharmacist. An enhanced strength is unlikely to result in faster recovery; on the contrary, an overdose can only lead to adverse side effects.

Side effects of cyclobenzaprine

Most common side effects of cyclobenzaprine are dryness of mouth (due to dehydration), dizziness, an excessive spell of tiredness and feeling drowsy or weak. These effects may soon disappear as your body gets used to the doses. However, if these discomforts persist for long, you are advised to consult your physician and pharmacist as quickly as possible.

Cyclobenzaprine is not known to trigger major side effects. But, if you experience acute discomforts like erratic or rapid heartbeats, mood shifts, being in a confused state, mental conditions, hallucinations, depression, etc., you need to take medical help at the soonest possible time. Cyclobenzaprine is also not likely to trigger allergies or hypersensitivity. In very remote instances, some people have complained about skin conditions such as rashes, itchiness, acute spell of drowsiness, respiratory problems, inflammation of facial organs, etc. These are serious allergic reactions and hence you are advised to take medical support on an emergency basis.

If you are living in the US, you are advised to call 911 immediately, or get in touch with a poison control center as soon as possible. Those living in any of the provinces of Canada need to reach out to Health Canada or rush to a poison control center in your province. You also need to remember that the aforesaid list of side effects, allergic reactions and discomforts do not represent a full list. Upon spotting newer symptoms, it is important to inform your doctor. It is also a good practice to talk to the emergency helpline numbers of the food and drug administration (FDA) in the US.

Prior clinical conditions and likely side effects of cyclobenzaprine

People who have a few medical conditions have reported adverse side effects upon using cyclobenzaprine. It hence becomes essential to inform your physician about prior or existing clinical conditions such as cardiac problems – including heart attack, blockages in heart, eye problems like glaucoma, benign enlargement of prostate or problems observed while urinating.

This drug is likely to make you feel dizzy. So, if you are already taking drugs that can lead to drowsiness, you need to talk to your physician and pharmacist about such drugs. The strength of such drugs is lowered or needful changes are made to your diet plan to avoid excessive episodes of dizziness. For the same reason, it is not a good practice to take intoxicants such as cannabis (marijuana), alcohol or other such substances. Your treating physician may tell you limit or completely stop consuming alcohol. If your lifestyle includes regular intake of alcohol, if you are alcohol-dependent or if you have had prior experiences of substance abuse, you need to talk to your doctor about such habits.

You need to be extremely cautious if you are undergoing a surgery while taking cyclobenzaprine. This is because of this drug’s ability to influence the pre-surgical, anesthetic protocols and may lead to deeper spells of unconsciousness. For almost the same reasons, your dentist also needs to know about intake of this drug prior to administering a local or general (whole body) anesthesia prior to a dental procedure.

If you are pregnant, you need to take needful advice from your physician prior to taking cyclobenzaprine. In general, this drug is prescribed only when a pregnant woman is definitely in need of it. Clinical studies do not have conclusive evidences on the safety of this drug on nursing women. As most muscle-relaxing drugs pass through breastmilk, it is not advised to take it when you are nursing a baby.

Likely interactions with other drugs and possible side effects

As drugs often interact with co-administered medications, you need to inform your medical team about all the drugs you are presently taking. While sharing such information, you need to include all possible categories of drugs consumed – including over the counter medicines, prescription drugs as well as herbal aids or dietary supplements. Also, once you have shared the list of drugs currently taken, you must never stop taking them without the knowledge of the treating doctor.

Cyclobenzaprine is known to interact with a wide range of medications. Some of the most common interactions are observed while this drug is co-administered with antidepressant drugs (especially of the tricyclic genre) like imipramine, amitriptyline, etc. This drug may also interact with selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting drugs (SSRIs) such as paroxetine, fluoxetine, etc. You are advised to exercise equal amount of caution while taking antidepressants belonging to the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibiting medications (SNRIs) like venlafaxine, duloxetine, etc.

Since cyclobenzaprine can trigger severe episodes of drowsiness, talk to your pharmacist before taking opioid-based cough or pain relieving medications like hydrocodone, codeine, anxiety reducing or sleep enhancing medications like zolpidem, lorazepam, alprazolam, etc. As a few other muscle-relaxants like methocarbamol, carisoprodol, etc. can lead to acute side effects, you are advised to stay away from such drugs.

MAO inhibiting drugs are known to produce acute side effects if taken with cyclobenzaprine. You are advised not to take drugs like methylene, safinamide, linezolid, etc. In order to enhance added safety, it is recommended to stop consuming MAO inhibiting medications for at least 14 days prior to the intake of cyclobenzaprine. Last but not least, stay cautious about taking drugs used to treat common cold as they may induce drowsiness. These cold and cough reducing drugs are more likely to interact with cyclobenzaprine and trigger acute levels of dizziness.

Forgetting to take a dose of cyclobenzaprine and risks of overdose

If you have forgotten to take a dose of this drug, never take double-dosage to make up for the missed dose. In such instances, it is a good practice to skip the dose you forgot to take. Those who took a double dosage of cyclobenzaprine have experienced risks of an overdose. How to tell if you are overdosed? One can tell it from the symptoms and other associated side effects. A possible overdose is known to trigger a few adverse side effects like a severe spell of drowsiness, convulsions, mood shifts, mental conditions such as nervousness, confusion, etc. A few overdosed people have also encountered discomforts like rapid heartbeats, slurring of speech, passing out, etc. In all such instances, you are advised to call 911 for immediate help or call a local poison control center on an urgent basis.

In sum, the most common side effects associated with the intake of cyclobenzaprine include dehydration, drowsiness, weakness and dizziness. Such discomforts are likely to disappear once your body gets used to this drug. But, if these effects do not go away, you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist promptly. No major or serious side effects are likely to occur with the use of cyclobenzaprine. In some instances, people have reported a few serious reactions such as increased pulse rates, confusion, hallucinations, mood shifts such as anxiety, depression, etc. In all such circumstances, it is strongly recommended to take medical help at the soonest possible time.

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