Tizanidine is a muscle relaxant used for the treatment of muscle spasticity. It is also a drug of abuse due to its sedating and dizzying effects, which people may seek out as a high. Tizanidine is classified as a controlled substance that is only legally available with a prescription.
Tizanidine is a dangerous drug with many side effects and toxic interactions with other medications. Withdrawal from tizanidine also carries significant potential for harm. The only safe way to withdraw from tizanidine is by utilizing a medically supervised detoxification to properly taper off the medication and monitor and treat for dangerous side effects.
Tizanidine withdrawal causes adverse symptoms that are the result of the body and brain rebounding from the disruptive effects of the drug. It can also cause a particular withdrawal syndrome (collection of negative symptoms) that makes the user very sick.
Withdrawal symptoms usually recede within 24 hours of starting medication-assisted detox. However, the withdrawal symptoms can usually be completely avoided by discontinuing the medication when already involved in medical detox.
Tizanidine Withdrawal Symptoms
Tizanidine withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and dangerous, and include:
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle stiffness
Tizanidine withdrawal symptoms are more likely to occur and tend to be more severe with higher does, prolonged use, and sudden discontinuation of the drug when there is concurrent use of narcotics and alcohol.
Tizanidine withdrawal syndrome may also occur and are characterized by:
- Body-wide shaking
- Unstable body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Body-wide muscle stiffness
How Long Tizanidine Withdrawal Lasts
Tizanidine itself has a short “half-life” of only about 150 minutes, which means that the body clears the drug within a few hours. However, many people who abuse tizanidine take high doses and may have impaired kidney and liver function from other drug use, so the time the body takes to clear the medication may be prolonged in such cases. Use of other drugs, especially alcohol, further impairs the body’s ability to detoxify from tizanidine.
Even though tizanidine usually clears from the body relatively quickly, the body and brain take a long time to recover from the extremely disruptive effects that the drug has on their ability to function normally, and it takes considerably longer for them to recover after the drug is removed from circulation. This disruption of the body’s normal ability to function causes the withdrawal symptoms, which lasts until the body and brain have fully recovered and resumed normal functioning.
No set time is identified for how long withdrawal symptoms last. The length of time depends on factors like the individual’s age and state of health, the doses of the drug taken, the duration of use and the use of other drugs.
Tizanidine Withdrawal Medications
Because drug withdrawal is often an uncomfortable experience, medical professionals sometimes utilize certain medicines to help patients through the process. By easing the severity of withdrawal symptoms, patients have a better chance of following through with the whole detox process.
Certain types of medications are used to properly and safely detoxify a person from Tizanidine use. Alpha- and beta-blocker medications are used to control the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure, and drugs closely related to tizanidine may be used to help with the tapering process.
Tizanidine Withdrawal Deaths
Dying from tizanidine withdrawal is uncommon. However, some of the cardiovascular complications of withdrawal (such as rapid heart rate and high blood pressure) can be life-threatening, especially if there are pre-existing heart conditions or other drugs involved that have similar side effects. Always consult with a medical professional before attempting a drug detox. They will be able to help patients evaluate their physical and mental health to better understand how to best approach a drug detox.
Tizanidine Withdrawal Cold Turkey
According to the FDA, tizanidine should not be discontinued “cold turkey” in people who have been:
- Taking high doses (20mg to 36mg daily)
- Taking tizanidine for long periods (nine weeks or more)
- Taking narcotics (such as opioids) at the same time
For people whose situation fits into any of those scenarios, their dose should be decreased slowly, by 2mg to 4mg per day (or an amount determined by a medical professional), to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and muscle contractures.
Tizanidine Withdrawal Tips
Tizanidine is a dangerous medication that can cause serious withdrawal effects. People who plan to discontinue this medication should consider these tips:
- Obtain medical advice and supervision from a medical professional before beginning the withdrawal or detox process
- Don’t attempt withdrawal alone. Involving supportive family members or friends makes success more likely.
- Get professional help. Medically supervised detox makes the process safer, more comfortable and more likely to succeed.
- Be honest. Talking honestly about other drug use or addictive behaviors allows for proper treatment planning and improved outcomes.
- Address the underlying and co-occurring issues, such as other drug use, mental or emotional problems and difficulties
Withdrawing from tizanidine and any other toxic substances is the first part of the recovery process. The concurrent use of other substances and the presence of underlying mental health disorders can make the process even more complicated and difficult. Medically supervised detox is the safest way to accomplish this task.
Tizanidine Detox at Home
Detoxing from tizanidine at home may be an option for some individuals, but they should only do so if so advised by a physician who is aware of the full details of their drug use along with any co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. People considering detoxing at home should:
- Have a good support system in place
- Have a safe, drug-free place to live
- Not live alone
- Be motivated to stop the drug use
However, even people who detox at home should involve a physician for check-ups. Frequent monitoring of blood pressure, pulse rate, and other physical parameters may be required. People detoxing at home should seek outpatient professional help for the psychological issues that underlie their substance abuse.
Helping Someone Withdrawing or Detoxing from Tizanidine
The best way to help someone withdraw or detox from tizanidine is to make sure that they get professional help before stopping the drug use. The withdrawal effects from tizanidine use require medical supervision and medication-assisted detox is the best way to ensure a safe and manageable withdrawal.
Besides making sure that the individual gets the proper professional help, friends and family can help by providing support and a positive home environment when the person returns after detox and treatment.
Finding a Tizanidine Withdrawal and Detox Center
Many aspects must be identified and treated when a person goes to receive help for tizanidine addiction, such as the abuse of other substances, mental health disorders and problems adjusting to life without a substance. Many factors are specific to the drug, such as specific withdrawal effects and health concerns. It is important to find a withdrawal and detox facility staffed with professionals who are trained and familiar with the specifics of tizanidine abuse and its related complications.
If you or a loved one live with tizanidine addiction, contact The Recovery Village today to speak with a representative about how addiction treatment can help you or your loved one address your addiction along with any co-occurring mental health disorders. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
Drug Enforcement Administration. “Controlled substance schedules.” February 28, 2019. Accessed May 23, 2019. Food and Drug Administration. “Tizanidine: highlights of prescribing information.” October 4, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2019. Jones S., Sandhu H., Preston C. “Tizanidine interactions.” The Pharmaceutical Journal, February 10, 2015. Accessed May 23, 2019. See S., Ginzburg R. “Choosing a skeletal muscle relaxant.” American Family Physician, August 1, 2008. Accessed May 23, 2019. Suárez-Lledó A., Padullés A., Lozano T., Cobo-Sacristán S., Colls M., Jódar R. “Management of Tizanidine Withdrawal Syndrome: A case report.” Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports, February 13, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2019. United States National Library of Medicine. “Zanaflex – tizanidine hydrochloride capsule – tizanidine hydrochloride tablet.” October 19, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2019.
Drug Enforcement Administration. “Controlled substance schedules.” February 28, 2019. Accessed May 23, 2019.
Food and Drug Administration. “Tizanidine: highlights of prescribing information.” October 4, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2019.
Jones S., Sandhu H., Preston C. “Tizanidine interactions.” The Pharmaceutical Journal, February 10, 2015. Accessed May 23, 2019.
See S., Ginzburg R. “Choosing a skeletal muscle relaxant.” American Family Physician, August 1, 2008. Accessed May 23, 2019.
Suárez-Lledó A., Padullés A., Lozano T., Cobo-Sacristán S., Colls M., Jódar R. “Management of Tizanidine Withdrawal Syndrome: A case report.” Clinical Medicine Insights: Case Reports, February 13, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2019.
United States National Library of Medicine. “Zanaflex – tizanidine hydrochloride capsule – tizanidine hydrochloride tablet.” October 19, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2019.