Is Flexeril Addictive?

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Flexeril is the name of a drug that is prescribed as a muscle relaxer, also known as cyclobenzaprine in its generic form. Flexeril is classified as a specific type of antidepressant called tricyclic antidepressants. The generic form was first approved in 1977 under the brand name Flexeril. Cyclobenzaprine is also sold under the brand names Amrix, Fexmid and FusePaq Tabradol. The drug is sold in both immediate and extended release versions.
What Is Flexeril? | What Is Flexeril Used For and Is It Addictive?
Doctors prescribe Flexeril in order to treat pain and discomfort that stems from muscle injuries, including strains and sprains. Typically, a doctor will prescribe Flexeril as part of a plan that includes rest and physical therapy. In some cases, Flexeril can be used off-label in order to treat fibromyalgia. It is believed that Flexeril works on the central nervous system, blocking pain sensations that would otherwise travel from sore muscles to the brain.

Some of the side effects of Flexeril include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation and fatigue. There are some serious side effects of this medication that could require medical attention, including irregular heartbeat, changes in mood, or mental changes such as confusion, urination problems, fever or seizures. If someone takes another medication that increases serotonin levels in the brain, it could cause a serious and sometimes deadly condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, headache, dilated pupils, confusion, blood pressure and body temperature changes, nausea or vomiting, and sweating or goosebumps.

People are advised not to combine Flexeril with any serotonin-increasing medications or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). This combination can be life threatening. Central nervous system depressants may also have an adverse interaction with Flexeril. Medications considered to be central nervous depressants (CNS) include opioids, and benzodiazepines like Xanax and barbiturates. If someone combines Flexeril with alcohol, it can cause extreme drowsiness and amplify the side effects of the alcohol.

Flexeril isn’t supposed to be used as a long-term medication. Studies have shown that it only decreases pain in the first two weeks of usage. After that, it does not appear to offer pain-relieving benefits. Doctors will usually start patients on the lowest possible effective dose. Overdose is possible with Flexeril. Signs of a Flexeril overdose include chest pain, hallucinations, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, slurred speech and extreme drowsiness.

There is a lot of discussion about addiction in the United States right now as a result of the opioid epidemic. For years, doctors were prescribing opioid pain relievers without understanding how addictive the drugs truly were. Now, there are tens of thousands of overdoses from these drugs each year and countless people are addicted to opioids. Since Flexeril does have pain relief and side effects similar to those of opioids, people sometimes wonder: is Flexeril addictive?

There is some evidence that Flexeril abuse and addiction are possible. Flexeril depresses the central nervous system and some people find these effects to be desirable. For example, people might abuse Flexeril in order to feel relaxed, mildly euphoric, or sedated. In high doses, Flexeril can cause what are called anticholinergic effects, altering the activity of brain neurotransmitters. Cyclobenzaprine was one of the drugs Whitney Houston had in her system when she died. On its own, Flexeril abuse isn’t extremely common. It is much more common to combine Flexeril with another CNS depressant in order to amplify the effects. For example, someone who is exhibiting signs of Flexeril abuse might mix it with alcohol. People might also use Flexeril as a way to come down from a stimulant drug, such as cocaine. It is possible to develop a physical dependence on Flexeril as well, but withdrawal symptoms are not usually severe. Flexeril withdrawal symptoms can include headache, nausea, fatigue or slight cravings for the drug.

Flexeril is not currently classified as a controlled substance; however, a prescription is required to purchase it. This means that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency doesn’t necessarily consider Flexeril abuse or Flexeril addiction to be significant concerns. So, can you get addicted to Flexeril? Flexeril addiction is a small possibility, as is physical dependence, but it’s not a drug often abused on its own. It is more likely for Flexeril abuse to occur in combination with other drugs or substances.

Do you or a loved one have a problem with Flexeril or another prescription medication? Contact The Recovery Village in order to learn more about medically-supervised detox, and inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. We can also answer questions you may have about covering the costs of drug or alcohol treatment.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.