Addiction A-Z

Muscle relaxant

A muscle relaxant is any one of several prescription drugs used to treat pain associated with muscle spasms. They are also prescribed for cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other conditions that cause involuntary spasms. Muscle relaxants do not actually relax muscles. Instead, they act on the brain and central nervous system to relax muscles, based on the theory that pain causes muscle spasms, which in turn causes pain. Two commonly prescribed muscle relaxants, carisoprodol and diazepam, routinely make the list of the top 20 most widely abused drugs in the United States.

Since carisoprodol is not considered addictive, the government does not regulate it in the same way it keeps track of more dangerous drugs like heroin and oxycodone. This means that carisoprodol is available without a prescription in Mexico, and through veterinary services and internet pharmacies.

People who become addicted to carisoprodol have to undergo a withdrawal syndrome that has symptoms similar to withdrawal from meprobamate, pentobarbital, and chlordizapoxide. Symptoms are nervousness, anxiety, irritability, headaches, muscle pain, mental confusion, seizures, insomnia, and cramps. A person in severe withdrawal should be medically supervised.

Valium, another muscle relaxant, is one of the most popular drugs in the benzodiazepine family, and classified as aSchedule IV Controlled Substance, meaning it is somewhat addictive. It is most often prescribed for anxiety.

People can become physically dependent on benzodiazepines, and when they stop using them, they will go through an unpleasant withdrawal syndrome that addicts often believe is worse than the one associated with heroin. Symptoms can be anxiety, tremors, nightmares, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, low blood pressure, seizures, delirium, fever, and hallucinations. Withdrawal is best done under medical supervision.

Cyclobenzaprine is the third most common muscle relaxant. It is commonly sold under the brand names Amrix, Fexmid, Flexeril, and Tabradol, and used to treat sprains, strains, or any injury to the muscles.

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