Muscular spasms occur when there is an abrupt muscular contraction, which often shows up with a sharp pain. It can also be due to a musculoskeletal problem. Drugs belonging to class of medications known as muscle relaxants; these drugs are administered to treat several medical conditions. Flexeril is a commonly used drug for the treatment of muscular problems. The generic form of this drug is known as cyclobenzaprine. This drug is mostly administered for a shorter span of time. Use of this drug over a longer term is known to result in a few side effects. It is hence necessary to know the side effects flexeril may trigger.
Flexeril is a muscle relaxing drug. Its use is often prescribed along with a treatment plan involving physical therapy as well as plenty of rest. Also, its intake is recommended only for shorter interval of time. The key function of this drug is to relax your muscles by working on your nervous system. However, it has serious limitations in treating conditions like cerebral palsies; these are disorders associated with bodily movements, occurring mostly soon after infancy. As mentioned, this drug is never taken for a longer period. Some people take stronger doses of flexeril for faster relief from muscular cramps; this is not a safe practice. You may only do more harm to your system than good by an increase in the dosage levels or taking flexeril for a longer span of time. You are advised to consult your pharmacist or treating doctor about safe dosage levels and strictly adhere to the duration of the treatment plan.
Flexeril is taken orally before or after a meal. Your dosage level is determined based on your age, muscular condition as well as how well your system reacts to doses of this drug. The typical period of treatment is never more than 20 days. If your muscular health fails to improve in 15 days’ time, you are advised to talk to your prescribing doctor. You may then be prescribed with alternatives or safer substitutes to treat your musculoskeletal problem.
Side effects of flexeril
This drug has been prescribed based on the treating doctor’s assessment of your muscular condition, and after weighing the risks of side effects in comparison to its benefits. You also need to know that most people who take this drug never reported any major side effects. However, a few minor discomforts or side effects are known to occur. Such adverse side effects and discomforts include dehydration, feeling dizzy, difficulties to pass stools, spells of drowsiness, etc. Most of the aforesaid signs may cease to show up once your system gets used to the active ingredients of flexeril. But, if one or more of these side effects persist for long, you are advised to talk to your treating doctor promptly.
A few serious side effects of flexeril
This drug is unlikely to cause very serious or acute side effects. In very rare instances, this may trigger serious reactions like difficulties to urinate, increased pulse rates, being in a confused or restless state of mind, erratic heartbeats, weird dreams or thoughts. If you witness any of these acute reactions, it is highly recommended to seek medical help at the earliest possible time. You need to either call 911 or an emergency hotline / helpline number of the US-based food and drug administration (FDA).
Allergies flexeril may cause
In remote circumstances, this drug may trigger a few allergic conditions. Some of the acute allergic reactions it may cause are skin conditions such as hives or rashes, breathing problems such as gasping, wheezing, etc. In equally rare instances, some people have reported acute episodes of drowsiness or feeling excessively dizzy, inflammation of oral organs, etc. You need to understand that the abovementioned discomforts do not necessarily constitute the entire list of side effects. It is hence possible to experience unknown allergies as well as unlisted discomforts. The good news is – the food and drug administration (FDA) keeps a close watch on all the drugs it has approved; you can directly reach out to the agency and report newer side effects of flexeril. Under the supervision of this central drug agency, you can avail needful medical support on an emergency basis. Those living in Canada may reach out to Health Canada or a nearest poison control center – i.e., a unit located closer to where you live or situated in your province.
Safety precautions to minimise the side effects of flexeril
Existing illnesses or medical conditions remain one of the top causes for drug-triggered side effects. Hence, you are advised to tell your treating physician about your medical history as well as your family’s clinical history. It is a good practice to share details about ailments such as hyperactive thyroid gland (also, known as hyperthyroid condition), enlargement of your prostate or problems experienced while you urinate, hepatic conditions like inflammation of liver or cirrhosis of liver, cardiac conditions including heart arrests experienced in the recent past, etc. It is also a good practice to inform your doctor about eye problems or ocular disorders such as glaucoma, cataract, etc.
Intake of intoxicants along with flexeril and likely side effects
People who habitually consume alcohol must tell about their lifestyle as well as regular habits with the treating doctor. As flexeril can cause excessive levels of drowsiness, taking intoxicating substances such as alcohol, cannabis (marijuana), etc. may cause serious levels of dizziness. It is strongly recommended to limit or stop taking intoxicating substances. If you have had a medical history of substance abuse or being addicted to drugs like cannabis / marijuana, you need to immediately talk to your treating doctor about such habits.
Owing to flexeril’s ability to cause excessive levels of dizziness, it can interfere with anesthetic protocols performed before surgeries or other interventions. If you are planning to undergo a surgery, it is important to tell your surgeon about the intake of flexeril. Your surgical team may advise you to discontinue the intake of this drug for a few weeks during the weeks preceding your surgery. For almost the same reason, it is highly recommended to tell your dentist about your medication plan – especially, about the consumption of flexeril. It is very likely that your dental care team will recommend you to stop consuming this drug for at least 15 days prior to the date of a dental intervention.
Women who are pregnant are generally advised not to take this drug. If the need for this drug becomes acute among pregnant women, your doctor may recommend weakened doses or a safer substitute. Women who are breastfeeding need to take additional precautions before taking flexeril. It is not prescribed for breastfeeding women, as the drug and its active ingredients may pass to the feeding infant through mother’s milk. Babies fed with milk containing traces of active ingredients may develop side effects like persistent crying, inability to fall asleep, feeding difficulties, respiratory problems, etc.
Interactions between flexeril and other drugs
Flexeril may interact with a few other medications when taken together or administered without an adequate time interval in between doses. This drug is more likely to work adversely when co-administered with antidepressants. Also, daily doses of this drug may not go down well with medications that enhance the levels of neuro transmitting substances such as serotonin in your system – such as venlafaxine, paroxetine, fluoxetine, etc. Another important family of drugs to be avoided is MAO inhibiting drugs. Examples of these drugs include linezolid, safinamide, methylene (blue), etc. If your doctor is prescribing MAO inhibiting meds, you need to share details about dosages of flexeril. It is quite likely that your treating physician will advise you to provide a gap of at least 15 days prior to starting either of these meds.
Due to the excessive levels of drowsiness this drug is known to cause, you must not take it with anxiety reducing or sleep boosting drugs such as lorazepam or alprazolam. Flexeril may also work adversely when taken with a few other forms of muscle relaxants – like methocarbamol, as well as with cough meds which are based on opioids. As a precaution, it is highly recommended to study the mediation guide of drugs prescribed to you. If any of these drugs contain sleep inducing compounds or ingredients that may trigger dizziness, you need to promptly talk to your treating physician.
If you have somehow forgotten to take a dose, and if the next dose is already coming up, never take the missed dose. Instead, wait for the next dose and pursue a normal course. People who took a dual dose of flexeril have reported a few adverse side effects such as respiratory troubles, rapid heartbeats, acute spells of dizziness, slurring of speech and mental disorders such as mood shifts as well as depression and being in a confused state of mind. Very serious side effects of an overdose of flexeril are loss of consciousness, passing out or fainting. In all such situations, you are advised to talk to your treating doctor and seek medical help on an emergency basis. It is also a good practice to reach out to a poison control center located either in your province or contact an emergency room situated closer to your home.
Administration of flexeril to elderly people or older patients
More than any other age groups, aged people are more likely to be affected by the drug’s side effects. The odds of feeling dizzy or drowsy are high among the elderly. Side effects such as difficulties to pass stools, urinating problems, dizziness, being in a confused state of mind, etc. are more likely to show up among older people. These problems stand to get aggravated with the elderly; for example – a spell of excessive dizziness may lead to fainting or passing out. It is hence very important to check the overall wellbeing and presence of an enlarged bladder or prior episodes of constipation among older people before administering this drug.
In sum, flexeril is a muscle relaxant which is often taken together with physical therapy. It is strictly taken only for a very short period of time. People who took stronger doses or have taken this drug for a longer span have reported several adverse side effects and allergic reactions. A few side effects of taking flexeril are difficulties to pass stools (constipation), dehydration, feeling drowsy and dizziness. Many of the discomforts may disappear when your system gets used to daily doses of flexeril. However, if any of these discomforts are found to persist, you need to consult your treating physician and promptly share needful details.