Flexeril is a muscle relaxer containing the compound cyclobenzaprine, a type of tricyclic antidepressant that has been in circulation since 1977. Other common tricyclic antidepressants include Norpramin, Tofranil, and Vivactil. Flexeril is typically prescribed to treat pain from some injury and works by blocking pain sensations in the central nervous system. In 2011, more than 25 million prescriptions containing cyclobenzaprine were given out in the United States. Flexeril is available in 5mg and 10mg tablets.
Flexeril can be used to treat muscular dystrophy, as it helps to control the muscle spasms and damage that occur from this disease. Flexeril is also used to relieve pain from any muscle strain or sprain. The drug has also shown small success for treating symptoms of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome. Due to its painkilling properties, there is a risk of drug abuse that accompanies taking Flexeril for extended periods of time.
The Flexeril High
Flexeril’s muscle relaxing properties give the user a specific kind of high. Users report that the drug produces a relaxing effect that is accompanied by drowsiness and a floating sensation. Flexeril is typically prescribed in moderate doses that only work to ease the pain of some injury or syndrome, but in excess doses (more than 60mg per day) it can cause a euphoric high. The drug is also long-acting, so instead of producing an immediate, intense high, it creates a long-lasting feeling of calmness and relaxation.
It takes a large dosage to overdose on Flexeril, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. As a central nervous system depressant, Flexeril can cause respiratory and cardiac arrest if taken in large quantities. Users have also experienced a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Users should also avoid operating any machinery as the drug is known to induce intense feelings of drowsiness.
Given the potential for drug abuse of Flexeril and the side effects, it is important to avoid mixing this drug with any other type of central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, opioids, or benzos.
- Mellow Yellow
Can You Get Addicted to Flexeril?
Flexeril is a muscle relaxant that is similar to but different from painkillers such as Vicodin, Codeine, and Oxycodone. Unlike those drugs that active opioid receptors in the brain, Flexeril blocks certain neurotransmitters associated with pain. It doesn’t produce nearly the same high off these opioids, but there is still a noticeable high. Flexeril is often used to ease some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with these drugs and to help people suffering from insomnia to fall asleep.
People often begin abusing Flexeril by combining it with other drugs. For example, the tablet form is usually crushed and sprinkled into alcohol or snorted. This delivery method makes the effects of the drug more immediate and noticeable. The DEA has found that most abusers of Flexeril take it with some other sort of drugs such as alcohol, opioids, and benzos, which are the most dangerous possible combinations.
Long-term recreational use of Flexeril can quickly lead to a growing tolerance and dependency on the drug. Mixing drugs with Flexeril can put you at risk for developing dangerous medical conditions. Anyone with an overactive thyroid or heart issues can also have serious side effects if they take over their prescribed dosage of Flexeril. The most common fatalities associated with Flexeril have involved mixing the drug with alcohol.
Signs of a Flexeril Overdose
In 2010 there were over 12,000 visits to the emergency room related to Flexeril overdose. Mixing the drug with other substances can lead to overdose and unsafe behavior. Also, long-term abuse can result in severe liver damage, causing the organ to become large and inflamed.
- Trouble Breathing
- Muscle Stiffness
- Severe Nausea
- Slurred Speech
Side Effects of Flexeril
Taking Flexeril as intended should create painkilling effects. More than these dosages or for prolonged periods of usage, the drug has the potential to cause severe central nervous system and mental problems. Abuse can also result in weight loss, anxiety, disorientation, and psychosis. Other common side effects of Flexeril are:
- Dry Mouth
- Inability to focus
Prolonged usage of Flexeril can result in a dependency on the drug. Regardless of whether someone begins using it recreationally or for medicinal purposes, Flexeril can produce a physical dependence not dissimilar from opioids and alcohol. Someone can become addicted to Flexeril as soon as withdrawal symptoms occur, which could begin after doses as low as 60-80 mg per day. Flexeril dependency should not be underestimated. More powerful painkillers such as Oxycodone and Hydrocodone have gained a reputation for being dangerous, but users can mistake Flexeril as non-addictive.
When someone becomes addicted to Flexeril, they will display the usual signs of dependency and similar symptoms of benzodiazepine and opioid addictions. For example, they may show the typical drug-seeking behavior of filling out higher and more frequent prescriptions or setting aside a budget to acquire more of the drug. Another sign of Flexeril addiction is that the person displays motor and mental impairment. Flexeril acts on the central nervous system, so this could manifest itself as someone who may seem chronically slow, with poor coordination, muscle weakness, slow reaction times and more.
They may also display memory impairment and have difficulty recalling recent events. Combining alcohol with Flexeril can multiply the severity of these types of effects. Both drugs slow down the body’s natural processes. The biggest danger lies in the possible fatality from respiratory depression. The next biggest threat lies in the impairments to critical thinking and judgment that occur from combining alcohol and Flexeril, for example, choosing to operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
Treatment for Flexeril Addiction
To overcome any kind of addiction, such as to Flexeril, an individual must consult with a medical professional and learn what their best course of action will be. Usually, this will require a medical detox and a rehabilitation program. Therapy and counseling offered through rehabilitation programs help the patient learn how to cope with stress without abusing substances and teaches ways to maintain sobriety. Group and family therapy programs can help to build social support to maintain sobriety and mend broken relationships that may have been harmed during the course of the patient’s addiction.
If you or a loved one believe that you are dealing a Flexeril addiction, don’t despair. Through learning what’s an intervention and working with interventionist professionals in the addiction field, you can successfully overcome an addiction to Flexeril. Getting treatment for addiction can increase your chances of achieving long-term sobriety. Look into local drug and alcohol rehab, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment facilities near you. Talk with an addiction specialist as soon as possible, and you can begin to take the right steps toward recovery.
How to Use Flexeril Responsibly
The potential for Flexeril abuse is high given the drug’s intoxicating side effects. Users must be aware of the proper dosage levels in order to use the drug without getting some sort of high. Users must also avoid taking the drug in tandem with any other substance such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines. Your doctor should work out the proper dosage amount for your situation but the Mayo Clinic has created several guidelines to follow:
- No more than six 10mg doses per day should be taken, no matter the age
- Adults and children 15 years of age or older should start on no more than 5mg doses 3 times per day
- Specific dosages must be prescribed by a doctor for patients with health conditions that may cause complications
Is Flexeril a Narcotic?
Given the side effects and prescription guidelines surrounding Flexeril, you may be wondering whether it is a narcotic or not. Although it produces similar effects to opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin, the truth is that Flexeril is a muscle relaxant that belongs in a different class than other painkillers. Rather than activating the opioid receptors like other prescription drugs, Flexeril simply blocks certain nerve impulses sent to the brain. People can still abuse Flexeril because it leads to feelings of sedation and relaxation.
Flexeril can be easily dissolved into alcohol or crushed into a fine powder and snorted. Prescription doses of Flexeril will generally be in the 5 - 10 mg range, but recreational doses will likely exceed this and land in the 20 - 80 mg range. The first effects will be lethargy and drowsiness. According to the DEA, most instances of Flexeril abuse occur when the user mixes the substance with another CNS depressant such as alcohol, barbiturates, benzos, or opioids.
However, the DEA has still not listed Flexeril as a controlled substance, meaning there is little risk to using this drug. The truth is that this drug isn’t especially harmful when used by itself, but when combined with another CNS depressant the danger becomes magnified. Combing Flexeril with another type of substance can cause an overdose, the effects of which could be fatal. Flexeril abuse could also lead to the development of a physical dependency marked by the need to use Flexeril on a daily basis. When a person has arrived at this stage of dependency, their addiction has gotten out of hand.
Other Things to Know About Flexeril
Flexeril is not a narcotic and will therefore not show up on a drug screen test. If the drug test covers tricyclic antidepressants, it may show up, but these are not common and as long as you have a prescription you cannot be fired for it. Cyclobenzaprine has a similar chemical structure to TCA’s although they are not the same. Cyclobenzaprine does not show up in urine tests and only has a half-life of 18 hours. If someone has liver or kidney problems, the drug could stay in their system for much longer.
If Flexeril is taken as prescribed for roughly two weeks, it should produce little to no withdrawal symptoms. Outside of these limits, there may some minor symptoms, especially if taken in high dosages or more frequently than prescribed. Flexeril is considered to be a drug with high abuse potential and addictive qualities. Some of the withdrawal symptoms that may possibly occur as a result of taking Flexeril are nausea, headaches, fatigue, and general lethargy. Users may also become psychologically dependent on Flexeril because of the feelings it produces.
Drug and alcohol addiction are some of the most destructive forces in the world today, especially if the addiction is to a painkilling substance such as Flexeril. The process of healing ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world at large, starts with recognizing the danger that these substances represent. At Landmark Recovery, we believe in creating a supportive network of love and access to resources that can help you break free from the chains of addiction. Visit our website to learn more about drug and alcohol rehab.