What is Flexeril and how it works?

Flexeril is a popular muscle relaxant. It blocks the pain sensations that are transmitted to the brain. In case of skeletal muscle injury or pain Flexeril is taken along with physical therapy and proper rest.

Some important information about Flexeril

Avoid taking Flexeril if you have tried MAO inhibitor like phenelzine, tranylcypromine, selegiline etc., within last 14 days. Some serious and life-threatening side effects can be seen if you use Flexeril before MAO inhibitor gets removed from your body.

Also you should avoid using Flexeril if you had a heart attack recently, or you are suffering from heart rhythm problem, heart block, overactive thyroid or heart failure.

Flexeril can also affect your thinking ability and reactions. You need to be very careful while driving or engaging in activities that need extra alertness. Also do not drink alcohol as this can lead to some unwanted side effects.

How to use Flexeril?

Use this medication exactly as your doctor has prescribed you. Do not consume Flexeril in excess or use it for a long term than advised by your doctor. Read and follow the instructions given on label carefully.

Flexeril is just a part of a treatment program that may comprise of other measures for pain relief, rest, physical therapy etc.

Always store Flexeril away from light, heat and moisture in a room temperature.

Flexeril causes sleepiness and if you are using other medicines like allergy or cold medicines, sleeping pills, narcotic medicines for pain, medicines for seizures, anxiety or depression can increase sleepiness that occurs as a result of consuming Flexeril. Let your doctor know if you are using other medicines regularly and also if you using other muscle relaxer.

Always speak to your doctor before you start or stop taking Flexeril. If you are allergic to the drug, get your emergency help if you see any signs of allergic reactions. In case you are suffering from heart rhythm problems, overactive thyroid or heart block, do not use Flexeril and you should discuss about the allergies so that doctor can help you adjust the dose accordingly. Your doctor might suggest you some special tests as well. Older people are quite sensitive to Flexeril.

Take the medicine with a glass of water. Follow the instructions given by your doctor to avoid serious side effects. If you notice any signs of overdose, immediately consult your doctor as it can be life threatening too.

There are many drugs that can interact with Flexeril, so talk to your doctor and inform him about all other medicines that you are taking apart from Flexeril. Let your doctor know even if you are using minerals, vitamins, herbal products and other drugs, which are prescribed by any other doctor. Also do not start taking any medicine without informing your doctor.

Flexeril can help you in many ways, but you need to be aware of the side effects and other restrictions that come with Flexeril. Your doctor can help you use Flexeril safely.

Treatment methods for overdose of Flexeril

Flexeril is well known muscle relaxant that has its own benefits, but you need to know the right dosage of Flexeril in order to avoid serious side effects. You should use Flexeril as prescribed and get maximum benefit from your drug. When your doctor recommends a particular dose of Flexeril that means he knows what your body needs and the how the drug works. So do not try to change the dose or stop taking Flexeril suddenly without consulting your doctor.

Dosage Information

For most people the dose of Flexeril that is recommended is

5 mg – 3 times a day

Based on patient’s response to the drug the dose can be increased to 10mg – 3 times a day. It is not recommended to use Flexeril for more than 2-3 weeks. For elderly and hepatically impaired patients, less frequent dose of Flexeril is recommended.

Overdose of Flexeril and its treatment

Although the death cases related to over dosage of Flexeril are rare, there are certain precautions that one needs to take while using Flexeril.  It is recommended that a physician should contact centre for poison control to manage the over dose of Flexeril as managing overdose of drug is quite complicated.

Symptoms and signs of toxicity can develop faster after overdose of Flexeril; therefore hospitalization is important so that the patient is monitored constantly. It is always better to get and ECG done and start cardiac monitoring. It is recommended that patient’s airway needs to be protected, initiate gastric detoxification and set up intravenous line. Observation for respiratory depression, CNS, hypotension, seizures or conduction blocks is quite necessary.

If the indications of toxicity still persist, it is important to extend the period of monitoring. All patients who suffer from overdose of Flexeril should be treated for gastrointestinal detoxification.  This is basically carried out by cleaning the gastric lavage.

In case of CNS depression patients are treated with intubation. Seizures need to be controlled using benzodiazepines and in case these don’t work, anticonvulsants can also be used to help the patient recover faster.

In some cases the overdose can also lead to suicide cases, where patient may try to commit suicide. In such cases psychiatric referral is the ideal option to help patient recover from depression and suicidal thoughts.

In case of overdose of Flexeril in children, the management principles remain the same and physicians are recommended to call poison control help centre for a particular pediatric treatment.

In case of overdose the symptoms can vary, but there are treatment methods that can save patient’s life if the patient is treated in time. Do not delay in seeking medical help if you notice the problems related to overdose. If the overdose problems are left untreated, they can result in death too.

Proper monitoring and following overdose management principles can help the patient overcome the serious effects of overdose. Make sure that you avoid overdose of Flexeril as it can be life threatening. Continue with recommended dose and do not exceed the dosage limits.

Is Flexeril safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Flexeril is a common prescription drug that helps in relieving muscle pain. It is basically a course (short-term) for muscle sprains. Let us understand if Flexeril is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Flexeril and Pregnancy

Backache and muscle strain is a common problem reported by a lot of women during pregnancy. Many drugs are quite safe for pregnant woman or fetus. You should speak to your doctor before taking Flexeril during pregnancy. Your doctor can tell you if Flexeril is safe for you to use during your pregnancy. As there are no harmful effects seen in pregnant women due to Flexeril use, women can use Flexeril with doctor’s advice. Taking Flexeril for long term during pregnancy can increase the chances of complications, so it is recommended that do not take excess of Flexeril and try to take Flexeril only when required.

Even FDA has approved Flexeril safe to be used during pregnancy and it doesn’t harm the unborn baby.

Flexeril and Breastfeeding

Muscle pain or injuries are quite common and you may encounter muscle strains or pains while breastfeeding your baby. There are some side effects associated with consumption of Flexeril during breastfeeding. Let us understand about some of the side effect as listed below

  1. Skin rashes
  2. Chest rightness or breathing problems
  3. Dizziness
  4. Constipation
  5. Puffiness around your eyes
  6. Dry mouth
  7. Irregular breathing
  8. Upset stomach
  9. Swelling of face, lips and tongue.

You can take some precautions while using Flexeril during breastfeeding

Flexeril will increase the side effects of medications that are CNS depressants. These drugs lead to drowsiness and suppress the central nervous system. If you are taking any other medicines for sleeping, allergies, cold, seizures, painkillers, then use Flexeril with extra caution.

The same cautions apply when you take anesthesia in different forms during your dental procedures or other medications to relax injured or tired muscles.

As a mother, you need to take good care of your baby and thus need to be extra careful while using Flexeril. Since Flexeril causes drowsiness and suppression of nervous system, you can stop using Flexeril if it interferes with care of your baby. Again while driving you need to be alert, as Flexeril causes drowsiness and there are chances that accidents might happen, which can be dangerous for you and your baby.

The use of Flexeril results in dry mouth. For temporary solutions you can use sugarless candy, ice cubes etc., and if these solutions don’t work, try to increase the intake of water.  If still the problem continues, contact your doctor to find a permanent solution.

It is important to know that pregnancy is the most important phase in your life, so usage of any drugs or medications shouldn’t be taken without doctor’s advice. Nursing mothers need to be extra careful because they need to be cautious while taking care of baby. So, both nursing mothers and pregnant women should use Flexeril with doctor’s consultation only.

Drugs that interact with Flexeril- Explained

There are many drugs that interact with Flexeril and this article will help you understand the interactions of a few drugs with Flexeril. Flexeril can have interactions with MAO inhibitors, which can be life threatening too. Flexeril increases the effects of barbiturates, alcohol and many CNS depressants. Tricyclic antidepressants can block antihypertensive activity of guanethidine and other compounds that act in same manner. Tricyclic antidepressants can increase the risk of seizure in patients using tramadol.

Some other drugs that interact with Flexeril are as listed below

  • Atropine, dimenhydrinate, benztropine, scopolamine, methscopolamine are few drugs that interact with Flexeril.
  • A broncholidator like tiotropium and ipratroprium
  • Guanethidine
  • Mepenzolate
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Tramadol
  • Urinary and bladder medications like flavoxate, darifenacin, tolterodine and solifenacin
  • Irritable bowel medicines like hyoscyamine, levsin, propantheline and dicyclomine.

Avoid using MAO inhibitors as this can lead to fatal interaction. You should avoid using MAO inhibitors during your treatment with Flexeril. MAO inhibitors should be avoided two weeks prior to the treatment with Flexeril. You can check with your doctor when to stop or start taking the medication.

Before taking Flexeril, let your doctor know about the use of certain drugs that enhance serotonin, including some street drugs like MDMA, antidepressants like SSRIs  (Paroxetine, fluoxetine and SNRIs like venlafaxine, duloxetine tramadol, etc.,

Also tell your doctor if you are taking any other drugs or products that lead to drowsiness including antihistamines like diphenhydramine, ceitirizine and even alcohol. Also inform your doctor if you are using drugs for anxiety sleep like zolpidem, diazepam, alprazolam etc., certain muscle relaxants or narcotic pain relievers like codeine.

Make sure you check the labels on the medicines you are using like cold, cough or allergy products as they might comprise of ingredients that result in drowsiness. Talk to your pharmacist so that you can use the products safely.

Flexeril with MAOIs and tetracyclic compounds

The effects are severe in this interaction. These medicines can interact can result in harmful effects and should not be used together. The combination of these two medicines can enhance the serotonin level in your body.

High levels of serotonin in your body can fluctuate your body temperature, behavior, blood pressure resulting in a medical condition known as serotonin syndrome.  Serotonin syndrome can be fatal too.

If you experience confusion, restlessness, heavy sweating, agitation, stiffness, shivering, tremors, muscle twitching,heart palpitations or severe diarrhea, consult your health care provider immediately.

The doctor may be aware of these interactions and can help you change the dose or adjust the dose of Flexeril. Do not change Flexeril dose yourself or try to stop or start taking medicine on your own.

Similarly many other drugs that interact with Flexeril can lead to problems like disturbance in heart’s rhythm.  The effects of drugs vary depending on the severity of the interaction. You need to be aware of some drugs that can interact with Flexeril.

Always consult your doctor before taking Flexeril so that you do not have to face unwanted side effects.

Adverse effects of Flexeril you need to know about

Flexeril is used as a muscle relaxant and many people use it for muscle sprains and muscle injuries. It certainly helps relieve pain, but there are many side effects related to Flexeril. Though not all side effects are serious, but you should be aware of the ones that you need to pay immediate attention to. Let us look at side effects of Flexeril as below

Common side effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Xerostomia
  • Drowsiness

Apart from the common side effects stated above, there are some serious side effects that need immediate medical attention and they include

  • Convulsions
  • Hot, dry and flushed skin
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Increase/decrease in your body temperature
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Breathing problems
  • Severe restlessness or nervousness
  • Vomiting (with other overdose symptoms)
  • Hallucinations ( hearing, feeling or seeing things that doesn’t exist)

Moderate Side effects

  • Confusion
  • Unsteadiness and clumsiness
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Unusual dreams or thoughts
  • Mood changes or mental depression
  • Hives, skin rash, itching

Minor side effects that occur because of Flexeril and do not need medical attention are

Some side effects that arise because of Flexeril use and need no medical attention are as given below. As your body becomes used to the drug during treatment, side effects may vanish with time. Your doctor will help your know about how to prevent some of the side effects listed below. If any of these side effects continue, check with your doctor immediately.

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Dizziness

Less common/rare side effects are

  1. Constipation
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Stomach cramps, pain, bloated feeling, indigestion, gas or nausea
  4. Nervousness or excitement
  5. Headache
  6. Pounding heartbeat
  7. Trembling
  8. Feeling of illness or discomfort
  9. Frequent urination
  10. Weakness in feet, hands, pain, numbness, tingling
  11. Speech problems
  12. Muscle twitching
  13. Taste changes or unpleasant taste
  14. Unusual tiredness or muscle weakness

The effects related to various systems in our body are

Cardiovascular

Hypotension, vasodilatation, Tachycardia and arrhythmia

Digestive

  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal pain,
  • Gastritis,
  • Thirst,
  • Jaundice,
  • problems in liver functions,
  • Cholestasis, hepatitis and flatulence etc.,

Hypersensitivity

Facial edema

Rash

Urticaria

Anaphylaxis

Pruritus

Skin

Sweating

Urogenital

Urinary retention and/or frequency

There are also side effects associated with overdose of the drug. Overdose of this drug also result in suicidal cases, wherein the person taking excess amounts of Flexeril gets suicidal thoughts and the person tries to attempt suicide. In such cases people around him should monitor for change in his moods and behavior. Consulting a psychiatrist can help a lot.

There are sides effects related to overdose that can be fatal too. Flexeril when used in right doses gives better results, else it can be life threatening too. Talk to your doctor about how Flexeril can help you and the right dose that suits you. Do not make yourself dependent on drug and it becomes difficult to overcome drug dependency.

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