Prescription muscle relaxers like Tizanidine can help people overcome muscle spasms and pain, but they can also be addictive or misused.

Like many prescription medications, tizanidine can be addictive. Some people deliberately misuse the medication, while others may develop an addiction over time. Tizanidine is an FDA-approved medicine for the management of spasticity caused by:

  • An acquired brain injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury

It is also used in the management of pain associated with:

  • Lumbosacral neuralgia and chronic neck issues
  • Musculoskeletal pain syndrome
  • Migraine headaches

Tizanidine medication is an off-label prescription used as an anticonvulsant for the management of migraine headaches and insomnia.

Tizanidine abuse is possible due to its fast action on pain. A study to compare the muscle strength of Tizanidine and other approved skeletal muscle relaxants showed that there was increased improvement with Tizanidine.

Article at a Glance:

  • Tizanidine is a prescription muscle relaxer and pain management medication that can be addictive and misused, even though it is not a narcotic.
  • Withdrawal symptoms of Tizanidine include tremors, anxiety, hypertonia, tachycardia and hypertension.
  • Addiction to Tizanidine is more likely to occur when you take more than 35 mg within 24 hours for over two weeks.
  • Reduce the dosage of Tizanidine gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • The Recovery Village can help people who are addicted to Tizanidine.

What Is Tizanidine?

It is an antispasmodic prescription drug that is taken orally at specified intervals of time to treat symptoms related to multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal and brain injury. In simple terms, Tizanidine is a sharp pain-relief medicine that is acquired only with a doctor’s prescription.

Is Tizanidine a narcotic? No. Just because Tizanidine is sometimes abused doesn’t qualify it as a narcotic. Narcotics are substances traditionally used to ease pain by binding to pain receptors in the nervous system, whereas Tizanidine is a muscle relaxer. While Tizanidine muscle relaxers may help reduce pain, they do so in a different way than narcotics. Tizanidine is a muscle relaxer and blocks pain around the skeletal muscle areas. It is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist that treats:

  • Cramping
  • Spasm
  • Tightness of muscles

Symptoms that may warrant Tizanidine use may be the result of:

  • Injury to the spine or central nervous system
  • Spastic diplegia
  • Back pain
  • Multiple sclerosis

What Is Tizanidine Used For?

Spasm and muscle tone are common in people who have experienced a stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain or spinal injury. Since the body functions abnormally during contraction and muscle tone, Tizanidine is used to slow down the brain and nervous system action so that the muscles can relax.

You might have seen people taking Tizanidine for other medical conditions and wondered what is Tizanidine used for? Tizanidine can be used to treat several medical conditions, including:

  • Spinal cord or acquired brain injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Regional musculoskeletal pain syndrome
  • Chronic neck and lumbosacral neuralgia

Other uses for Tizanidine include treatment for:

  • Insomnia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Anticonvulsant

Tizanidine can also be used as part of a detoxification regimen in rebound headaches caused by analgesic withdrawal.

Is Tizanidine Addictive?

Though Tizanidine isn’t a narcotic, it can be addictive. You can’t get self-prescribe or over-the-counter Tizanidine due to its addictive nature. Instead, it is available with a doctor’s prescription. All medical instructions should be followed closely. Most medicines that act on the central nervous system (brain) have withdrawal effects when stopped immediately.

When a person is under this type of medication, the doctor will gradually reduce the dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Hypertension
  • Tachycardia
  • Tremor
  • Anxiety
  • Hypertonia

Tizanidine withdrawal can be managed by restarting and gradually reducing the dosage until the cessation of the medication.

You might be wondering how Tizanidine is addictive. When Tizanidine is taken more than 35 mg within 24 hours for more than two weeks, you risk the chance of being addicted to it. High doses of Tizanidine range from 20 mg to 36 mg daily.

If you are taking Tizanidine in high doses for more than nine weeks, it is advisable not to stop without professional help due to:

  • Rebound hypertension
  • Increased spasticity
  • Tachycardia

Tizanidine recreational use is rising by the day, and most people combine it with other narcotics to achieve the feeling of a Tizanidine high. The high feeling usually lasts for a shorter time, and this may lead to a person taking more doses to stay high.

Tizanidine Street Names, Common Misspellings, and Generics

Although Tizanidine is a prescription medication, it may be sold illegally and be known by a variety of street names. Although Tizanidine is a generic medication itself, it may be known by other brand names.

Tizanidine brand names include:

  • Zanaflex
  • Sirdalud(Novartis)
  • Relentus(Beximco Pharma)

Tizanidine is sometimes misspelled deliberately or unknowingly. Sometimes people misspell it to hide the fact they are using the medicine incorrectly or illicitly. Common misspellings or variants include:

  • Tizanadine
  • Xanaflex

Tizanidine Ingredients

Tizanidine is made up of active and inactive ingredients to form a muscle relaxer that is effective for many patients. The ingredients found in Tizanidine can cause liver damage, especially if you have liver problems.

Active ingredient:

  • Tizanidine hydrochloride(HCL)

Inactive ingredients:

  • Gelatin
  • Colorant
  • silicon dioxide
  • Hypromellose
  • Sugar spheres
  • Titanium dioxide

Tizanidine Warnings

Tizanidine side effects are present after the medication is abruptly stopping. Most Tizanidine warnings are related to withdrawal of the medicine. Related warnings include:

  • Hypotension
  • Liver injury
  • Sedation. You can’t drive while taking Tizanidine medication
  • Hallucination
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Withdrawal adverse reactions
  • Nonclinical toxicology( carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, fertility impairment).

Since it isn’t clear how the medicine affects a pregnant person, it is advisable to avoid Tizanidine unless it is used to save a life. Since it isn’t clear whether Tizanidine excretion is through milk, it is advisable to avoid it during lactation.

Tizanidine Addiction Statistics

According to NIH, cases reported of Tizanidine addiction often end with withdrawal symptoms when the medication intake is stopped. Addiction happens when the daily average dose of Tizanidine exceeds 20 to 36 mg. You can tell you are addicted to medicine when symptoms follow after cessation of consumption.

The dosage of the medicine is reduced gradually over time until it is stopped to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Visit the following websites to learn about The Recovery Village’s network of rehabilitation facilities. Call today for admissions. Each center is ready to help people learn how to cope with their addiction and uncover the root causes for their substance use disorder.

  • Orlando Recovery Center: A premier rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Florida that helps individuals recover from addiction and substance use disorders. The center also offers the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders.
  • The Recovery Village Columbus: Located in Ohio, this facility provides inpatient, outpatient and aftercare treatment for people looking to begin detox. The center provides individualized plans to help patients through recovery while addressing their unique co-occurring disorders or any setbacks that may happen during recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Palmer Lake: In Colorado, this facility offers inpatient, outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment for individuals looking to kick-start their journey to recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Ridgefield: Located right in southern Washington, this facility provides patients with outpatient and aftercare programs. Just 20 minutes outside of Portland, this facility assists individuals who are ready to begin treatment.
  • The Recovery Village: In Umatilla, Florida, this is a rehabilitation facility that provides resources for individuals seeking drug and alcohol treatment. There are inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment programs available for those suffering from Ambien addiction.
  • IAFF Center of Excellence: Specializes in assisting firefighters who struggle with behavioral health problems and addiction. Members can enter the recovery process sooner so they can return back to work as quickly as possible. Inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs are all available at this facility, where patients can address their Ambien addiction in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Denver Mental Health & Counseling: Denver Mental Health and Counseling by The Recovery Village is a physician-led outpatient center specializing in evidence-based addiction and mental health treatments, offering services such as TMS, IOP, and personalized care for both ongoing and new patients, dedicated to fostering long-term recovery and overall well-being.
  • The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health: The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is a premier physician-led treatment center in South Florida, offering a comprehensive spectrum of services from medical detox to outpatient programs for alcohol, drug, and co-occurring mental health conditions, with a commitment to rejuvenating lives, families, and communities, and facilitating same-day admissions.
  • The Recovery Village Atlanta: Located in Roswell just outside downtown Atlanta, is a 62-bed physician-led treatment facility offering a comprehensive range of services, from medical detox to outpatient care, specializing in alcohol, drug, and co-occurring mental health conditions, dedicated to transforming lives, families, and communities throughout Georgia.
  • The Recovery Village Kansas City: The Recovery Village Kansas City, an 80-bed facility in Raytown just 10 miles from downtown, offers a comprehensive range of evidence-based treatments for addiction and mental health conditions, overseen by physician leaders, and is dedicated to revitalizing lives, families, and communities throughout the Midwest.
  • The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper Health: The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper, situated just 20 minutes from Philadelphia, is a leading rehab facility in South Jersey providing comprehensive, evidence-based addiction and mental health treatments, ranging from medical detox to teletherapy, with a dedicated team committed to guiding adults on their path to lifelong recovery.
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By – Yuliya Sagan
Yulia is a cell and molecular biologist with expertise using embryonic stem cell models, 3D human tissue models, and animal models to investigate different human disease phenotypes including impaired wound healing, cardiovascular disease, and cancer metastasis. Read more
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Editor – Renee Deveney
As a contributor for Advanced Recovery Systems, Renee Deveney is passionate about helping people struggling with substance use disorder. With a family history of addiction, Renee is committed to opening up a proactive dialogue about substance use and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Kevin Wandler, MD
Kevin Wandler holds multiple positions at Advanced Recovery Systems. In addition to being the founding and chief medical director at Advanced Recovery Systems, he is also the medical director at The Recovery Village Ridgefield and at The Recovery Village Palmer Lake. Read more

Meythaler, J.M.; Guin-Rnfroe, S.; Johnson, A.; Brunner, R.M. Prospective assessment of tizanidine for[…]cquired brain injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. September 2001. Accessed April 26, 2019. HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION, FDA approved labeling dated October 4, 2013

Shirin Ghanavatian; Armen Derian. Tizanidine Mayo clinic. March 5, 2019. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Haukka J, Kriikku P, Mariottini C, Partonen T, Ojanperä I Non-medical use of psychoactive prescrip[…]ith fatal poisoning. Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Forensic Toxicology Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Department of Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. March 2018. Accessed April 26, 2019.

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.