Robaxin is a brand name of the medication methocarbamol. Methocarbamol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant known as a carbamate. It is typically prescribed as a treatment for skeletal muscle spasms. Researchers are still unsure as to how methocarbamol suppresses CNS activity to reduce pain and increase pain tolerance. A leading theory is that Robaxin may inhibit the activity of carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that’s critical to converting carbon dioxide and water to bicarbonate and vice versa.
Methocarbamol’s mechanism of action has no direct effect on skeletal muscle fibers. Robaxin reduces the occurrence of muscle spasms by depressing the activity of the nerve endings themselves. Due to Robaxin’s effects on the central nervous system, individuals taking the drug should avoid operating heavy machinery. Robaxin is not cleared for use during pregnancy. There have been reports of methocarbamol treatment leading to congenital abnormalities in the offspring of mothers who had taken methocarbamol during pregnancy. More research is needed to confirm this as a legitimate risk factor.
Robaxin is not known to cause withdrawal symptoms. However, a gradual transition is advised both when beginning and stopping treatment to avoid more severe side effects. Side effects of Robaxin may include upset stomach, drowsiness, poor physical coordination, dizziness, blurred vision, fever and flushing (redness and heat to the skin). On occasion, both tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and bradycardia (slow heart rate) have been reported. In some cases, more serious side effects have occurred, including persistent nausea/vomiting, fainting, abdominal/stomach pain, mood fluctuations and severe skin rash with itching. In high doses, Robaxin may trigger thoughts of suicide. Such high-dose symptoms can be avoided by staying within the recommended dose.
Withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing treatment with Robaxin are negligible. A typical prescription of Robaxin will call for three to six grams of methocarbamol per day. Methocarbamol has a wide range of safe and effective therapeutic doses. However, methocarbamol may be too high-risk for elderly patients to take due to the high likelihood of severe side effects. Robaxin may be prescribed for the treatment of lockjaw that can result from exposure to tetanus. An individual presenting with lockjaw after stepping on a rusty nail may be prescribed as much as 24 grams of methocarbamol per day.
Methocarbamol is not known to be addictive or trigger withdrawal symptoms. Other carbamates, such as meprobamate and carisoprodol, have higher misuse potential. Studies comparing the addictive potential of methocarbamol compared to the benzodiazepine lorazepam indicate methocarbamol to have a significantly weaker misuse profile. In some instances, methocarbamol triggered sedative effects along with a pleasurable response that patients wished to repeat. Such a reaction is known as a “liking” response. However, this “liking” response is distinct in both presentation, duration and intensity of the post-acute withdrawal syndrome often experienced upon stopping benzodiazepine use.
Limited research has been done regarding the use of methocarbamol as a treatment for detoxing from addictive substances. Some patients report that treatment with methocarbamol can help reduce withdrawal cravings for opioids. However, these reports are infrequent and opioid withdrawal is not considered an indication for Robaxin. Other medications, such as naltrexone, are specifically designed to block the reward pathways that trigger a patient’s pleasurable reaction to opiates like heroin. These medications block the opioid receptors from responding to the drug, thereby reducing drug carvings.
Patients who disregard prescribed doses and take high quantities of Robaxin may need help discontinuing use of the drug. In most cases of methocarbamol misuse, patients have a history of substance misuse disorders. Such individuals may supplement their drug of choice with higher doses of Robaxin to mitigate drug cravings or increase the intoxicating effects of their preferred illicit substance. If such addiction is driving the misuse of methocarbamol, entering an addiction recovery program may be necessary. If withdrawals are severe, it may be warranted to first undergo detox in a hospital setting. Medical professionals can ensure that the individual is medically stable and can be cleared for admittance into an inpatient recovery program.
Most inpatient recovery programs require severely addicted patients to get medical approval before beginning inpatient therapy. The length of inpatient programs varies depending on the patient’s needs. On average, inpatient programs last three to four weeks. Some programs cater only to adolescents and others to adults. Wilderness-based programs are popular for reforming the lifestyle habits of young patients while simultaneously teaching resourcefulness.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.