Flexeril is a prescription drug used to treat muscle pain and spasms. The generic name of this drug is cyclobenzaprine. Flexeril is prescribed as a short-term medication, typically paired with physical therapy and rest. Flexeril is used to treat pain stemming from sprains, strains and various muscle injuries. Flexeril is also used off-label for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Flexeril isn’t typically used for more than ten days, in most cases, as it stops being effective after that point. Flexeril affects the central nervous system and blocks pain nerve impulses being sent to the brain. Flexeril was approved by the FDA in 1977 and, for most people, the drug’s side effects are minimal. Common Flexeril side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness and dry mouth. Flexeril shouldn’t be prescribed to older patients because side effects can be more severe and sedation may occur.
Flexeril is similar in many ways to tricyclic antidepressants. There is some potential for abuse with Flexeril. The risk is somewhat low but there are reports of people using very high doses of Flexeril in order to feel a high similar to that of narcotics. This stems from the fact that Flexeril is a depressant and some people can find the relaxation and drowsiness desirable. In high doses, Flexeril has been shown to result in mental and physical impairment.
Flexeril abuse, on its own, isn’t very common. What’s much more common is using Flexeril with other drugs in order to heighten the effects and feel more intoxicated. For example, people might mix Flexeril with alcohol, narcotic pain medicines or benzodiazepines. This would amplify the sense of intoxication but also heighten the risk of adverse side effects. Along with the dangers of mixing Flexeril with other central nervous system depressants, it’s also risky to use it with certain antidepressant medications. This can result in serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include headache, dilated pupils, agitation and confusion. Other symptoms can include loss of muscle control, nausea, vomiting, changes in body temperature and changes in blood pressure.
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The dosage of Flexeril usually starts at 5 mg, taken three times a day. The drug shouldn’t be used in the long term. Older patients and people with liver impairment may be advised to take lower doses of Flexeril or not take it at all. If someone takes it exactly as prescribed, the risk of a Flexeril overdose is almost non-existent. That’s not the case when someone abuses it by taking large amounts or mixes it with alcohol, other prescription drugs or illicit drugs. Signs of a Flexeril overdose can include:
- Chest pain
- Slurred speech
- Rapid heartbeat
In rare cases, someone who overdoses on Flexeril may experience a heart attack or seizure. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is also possible. Symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome include changes in mental status, fever and stiff muscles. People who are at the highest risk of a Flexeril overdose include individuals who use multiple substances at once, as well as people who use high doses or use it more often than prescribed. Other Flexeril overdose risk factors include having a pre-existing heart or breathing issues, or other health conditions such as liver disease or problems urinating. If someone is believed to be experiencing a Flexeril overdose, emergency medical care should be sought immediately.
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