Carisoprodol is the generic name of the brand-name prescription drug Soma. Soma is a commonly prescribed muscle relaxer with sedative effects. Soma’s therapeutic benefits can be valuable in certain situations. Unfortunately, there are risks associated with the use of Soma as well. Two of these risks are overdose or addiction to Soma. It wasn’t until recently that the medical industry started seeing the potentially addictive nature of Soma.

An Overview of Soma

There is an unfortunate misconception that because a drug is prescribed it is inherently safe or there’s no risk of addiction. This isn’t the case, as has been proven with Soma and other classes of drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines. The potential for Soma addiction exists because of how this muscle relaxant works. Soma is prescribed in tablet form, and it’s thought to work by changing how nerves communicate with one another in the brain. Soma also likely alters pain sensation in the brain and spinal cord.

Ideally, when someone is prescribed Soma, it’s taken in conjunction with physical therapy; someone taking Soma should also get plenty of rest. It’s not meant as a long-term treatment. Soma is a short-term medication for acute conditions causing skeletal and muscle pain. The maximum amount of time Soma should be used is two to three weeks. Patients are advised to take Soma only as prescribed and never for any longer than prescribed. Following prescription instructions can reduce the risk of Soma abuse and Soma addiction. It’s also important to inform your doctor if you have a history of substance abuse before taking Soma.

Other side effects resulting from Soma use can also occur. Some of the most common side effects aside from Soma abuse include drowsiness, headaches and dizziness. A person may experience mood or psychological changes as well as irritability and depression. The recommended dosage for Soma is usually between 250 to 350 mg taken three times a day. In addition to taking Soma for only for a short period of time, Soma users should follow a gradual tapering down schedule when they stop using it.

Is Soma Addictive?

There is evidence showing Soma is addictive, and in 2011, it was added to the U.S. list of controlled substances as a Schedule IV drug. Soma acts as a sedative on the central nervous system, and when a user’s body breaks Soma down, it becomes meprobamate. Meprobamate is a tranquilizer, and it was initially sold under brand names like Equanil, which was one of the first sedatives available in the U.S. Tranquilizers tend to be addictive. Soma is also frequently combined with other drugs to enhance their effects. For example, there is one often-deadly combination nicknamed the “Houston Cocktail,” which includes Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. Users say that this combo is similar to heroin in its effects. There are other popular combinations as well, such as Soma and Vicodin.

When Soma is paired with other central nervous system depressants, the risk of an overdose is incredibly high. As with these depressants, a Soma overdose occurs when breathing becomes so slow a person loses consciousness, slips into a coma or dies. Signs of Soma abuse can include physical impairment, appearing intoxicated, and withdrawal symptoms like irritability. There are also longer-term red flags that tend to occur with Soma abuse. People who are suffering from a Soma addiction may regularly doctor shop as a way to get more pills, show signs of depression, or have cognition and memory problems.

To avoid a Soma overdose, users should follow their doctor’s instructions and let their doctor know if they’re taking anything else that also causes sleepiness. These types of substances can include opioids and anxiety medications, other muscle relaxers, antihistamines, and cough medications. Soma shouldn’t be combined with marijuana or alcohol either. Even some herbal supplements (e.g., St. John’s Wort) can interact negatively with Soma.

Summing Up—The Reality of Soma Abuse

Soma has been used as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever for many years, and its addictive potential has only recently come to light. There has also been a growing number of Soma overdose cases. To avoid the risk of Soma abuse and addiction, it’s important to let your doctor know your full medical history as well as any other medications or herbal supplements you may be taking. You should also avoid mixing Soma with other substances — particularly other depressants — without speaking to your doctor. A Soma overdose can occur when the drug is taken on its own at high doses but is more likely if it’s paired with something like alcohol or Xanax. Combining Soma with other drugs that depress the central nervous system can cause fatal respiratory depression.

If you feel you have a problem with Soma or are struggling with a Soma addiction, you’re not alone. Reach out to The Recovery Village; we can help you understand the treatment process and the benefits it can have in your life or in the life of your loved one.

Medical Disclaimer

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.