There are many relaxants that are quite effective in relieving strain and stress in the muscles. These relaxers are available over-the-counter, as well prescribed by physicians.
Skeletal muscle relaxants are a kind of drug that is prescribed for the treatment of conditions that include musculoskeletal and spasticity conditions. Musculoskeletal condition results in muscle spasms or pain such as low back and low neck pain. Spasticity is caused due to neurological conditions. Muscle relaxants are also used on patients in intensive care and during surgical procedures. All the muscle relaxants can be classified into one group. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only a few medications are approved for the treatment of spasticity, and most of the others are approved to be prescribed for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions or disorders.
List of Relaxants
Here is a list of generic names along with the brand name of the mentioned drugs.
- Baclofen – Lioresal, Kemstro
- Carisoprodol – Soma, Vanadom
- Chlorzoxazone – Parafon Forte DSC, Maolate, Remular-S
- Cyclobenzaprine – Flexeril, Fexmid
- Dantrolene – Dantrium
- Metaxalone – Skelaxin
- Methocarbamol – Robaxin
- Orphenadrine – Norflex, Antiflex, Orphenate, Orfo, Mio-Rel
- Tizanidine – Zanaflex
Relaxants to Treat Spasticity
Spasticity is a condition of increased muscle contractions with exaggerated tendon reflexes. Other conditions that are associated with spasticity include spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and post-stroke syndrome. Those affected by these conditions experience spasticity that could be painful and could disable functional ability. Spasticity also occurs due to upper motor neuron syndrome, which can lead to a number of conditions that affect the cortex or the spinal cord. Upper motor neuron syndrome is a mixture of symptoms that can be related to exaggerated cutaneous reflexes, dystonia, autonomic hyperreflexia, contractures, fatigability, and paresis.
Baclofen, tizanidine, and dantrolene are the only relaxants approved for the treatment of spasticity.
Relaxants to Treat Musculoskeletal Conditions
Muscle tone is defined as voluntary contractions of the muscles, and muscle spasm is the opposite, that is, involuntary contractions of one or many muscle groups. It is an acute condition that is related with muscle pain, which is partial tear of muscle or muscle sprain―complete or partial rupture of a ligament. Some of the common musculoskeletal disorders that causes muscle spasms and tenderness include myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, mechanical low neck pain or back pain, and tension headaches.
The muscle relaxants which are approved for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions include chlorzoxazone, carisoprodol, metaxalone, cyclobenzaprine, orphenadrine, and methocarbamol.
Skeletal muscle relaxants might lead to adverse effects, and special precautions should be taken by patients with existing health conditions. Baclofen, carisoprodol, and tizanidine should be used with caution by those affected by renal impairment. Dantrolene should be used with caution by those with impaired cardiac function. Those with seizure disorders should use baclofen and methocarbamol with caution, and patients with liver dysfunction should use cyclobenzaprine, carisoprodol, dantrolene, chlorzoxazone, tizanidine, and metaxolone with caution.
- All muscle relaxants have the potential to cause dizziness and drowsiness.
- Nausea /vomiting.
- Muscle fatigue.
- Vertigo and impaired/blurred vision.
- Sleep disorders.
- Stomach disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, and stomach cramps.
- Carisoprodol tends to produce some of the rare cardiovascular side effects, such as postural hypotension, facial flushing, and tachycardia.
- Chlorzoxazone and methocarbamol can possibly cause change in urine color, which gets back to normal once the intake of the medication are stopped.
- A high dose of tizanidine might cause low blood pressure, which can be controlled by bringing down the dosage.
- Baclofen might cause central nervous system depression.
The safety and effectiveness of these drugs are not specifically mentioned anywhere, hence, it is imperative to take expert advice before taking these muscle relaxants. Natural muscle relaxants are also a good substitute for the ones mentioned above.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.