The drug Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is a prescription muscle relaxant often used to treat back pain and, occasionally, for less common disorders such as muscular dystrophy. It works by controlling muscle spasms that originate in the muscle itself, versus other drugs that reduce pain in the nerves that control the muscles. Flexeril is less addictive than other painkillers (e.g., opioids), but there is still is a risk of abuse and dependence.
The Flexeril High
In addition to relief from spasms and the pain associated with them, the physical effects of Flexeril may also include feelings of relaxation, drowsiness, and a sense of “floating” that might be considered by some to be similar to a relatively mild high. This effect usually only occurs during first-time uses, or if it is misused and taken more frequently or in higher amounts than directed. Also, the effects of being high may be intensified if the drug is used in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol.
The general guidelines for prescribing Flexeril for persons 15 years of age and older recommends 5-10mg doses three times per day. The Flexeril high itself isn’t typically as euphoric as with some other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as benzodiazepines. However, it can induce long-lasting feelings of relaxation and calm that may encourage some users to experiment with it.
How Do People Abuse Flexeril?
Flexeril medication can be easily be dissolved in alcohol or crushed and snorted, two methods of administration that can produce a more intense high. As opposed to 5-10mg as directed, recreational doses are often much higher and can range from 20-80 mg or more.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has found that most people who abuse Flexeril do so by combining it with other illegal or prescription drugs. The reason for this is because cyclobenzaprine intensifies the effects of other CNS depressants, such as alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and opioids.
Risks of Flexeril Abuse
Flexeril abuse can result in an overdose, the effects of which can be dangerous and include fluctuations in body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and convulsions. Recreational use can also lead to the development of tolerance and physical dependence.
Tolerance is a condition that builds over time and results in the user’s need to use increasing amounts of the drug to experience the desired effects. Dependence is hallmarked by a need to use cyclobenzaprine regularly in order to function properly.
The development of both tolerance and dependence frequently leads to compulsive drug-seeking behavior. These three elements together form the cornerstone of addiction, which can result in long-term implications and adverse health effects.
Risks of Mixing Flexeril With Alcohol
The combination of Flexeril and alcohol can lead to severe problems in the central nervous system, the consequences of which can be fatal. Mixing Flexeril and alcohol is especially dangerous because both of these substances are CNS depressants.
One of the most vital bodily processes that these two drugs can impact is respiration. When used alone in excess, alcohol itself can slow respiration to perilous levels (alcohol poisoning), and Flexeril abuse can also lead to dangerously slow breathing. When Flexeril and alcohol are combined, however, the effects of each other can compound and increase the risk of severely depressed respiration even further.
Alcohol use can also increase the side effects of cyclobenzaprine, including dizziness, difficulty concentration, and drowsiness. As a result, persons who use both substances in conjunction may be more likely to injure themselves or others. As such, it is strongly advised that a person abstains from alcohol while they are being treated with Flexeril.
People that mix Flexeril and alcohol also may not think clearly and may be more susceptible to making bad choices, therefore resulting in more risks to the user’s well-being. Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, experiencing falls, and other risks of physical harm may be more likely when abusing Flexeril in conjunction with alcohol. In fact, there have been a number of deaths related to the use of Flexeril and alcohol together that occurred due to physical harm caused by over-intoxication.
Flexeril Side Effects
Flexeril has the potential to cause severe CNS complications as well as mental health issues, including disorientation, anxiety, and, in extreme cases, psychosis. The most common side effect is drowsiness, and therefore, those who are using it should avoid responsibilities that require attentiveness and focus until they know how it will affect them.
Some may not experience much drowsiness, while others may feel it profoundly. Other common side effects include nausea, dry mouth, and dizziness. Flexeril also contains antihistamines (allergy medication) that can cause some of the side effects.
Research indicates that Flexeril abuse can cause liver damage, including inflammation and swelling if a person misuses the drug. Liver damage can also result in jaundice, or bile can be diverted from the liver into the intestines. Similar to chronic alcohol use, Flexeril abuse can cause permanent and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver and other vital organs.
Flexeril abuse can also cause neurotransmitters to malfunction in the brain, possibly resulting in the following:
- Vision problems
- Cognitive impairments
- Unusual thought
- Intense fear
It is possible to overdose on Flexeril. Common effects include extreme drowsiness and an irregular heartbeat that can be fast and pounding, often accompanied by anxiety and difficulty breathing.
Less common effects include:
- High blood pressure
- Slurred speech
- Muscle stiffness
Rarely, a Flexeril overdose produces life-threatening symptoms, including the following:
- Cardiac arrest
- Chest pain
- Cardiac dysrhythmias
- Severely low blood pressure
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Overdose Risk Factors
There are several individual factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing a Flexeril overdose, including the following:
- Height and weight
- Dose amount and time duration of use
- Pre-existing cardiopulmonary issues
- Other pre-existing health problems, such as overactive thyroid, incontinence, enlarged prostate, glaucoma, and liver disease
Flexeril Addiction Treatment
Getting treatment for addiction has many benefits, including gaining insight into what factors led to the problem in the first place. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers an evidence-based approach to addiction comprised of services essential to the recovery process. These services include cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, peer support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning, among others.
Moreover, we employ caring addiction professionals who provide clients with the knowledge, resources, and support they need to achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and ultimately reclaim their lives. We know that there are challenges and perceived barriers associated with addiction recovery, and we are committed to supporting and encouraging you throughout the entire process.
If you or someone you know is abusing Flexeril, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today! We can help you find the answers you need and get you started on your journey to sobriety and a healthier, more fulfilling life!