Soma Medication Addiction, Uses & Withdrawal

Last Updated: August 31, 2021

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

The use of Soma pills is relatively common among people who experience muscle pain and related health conditions. Soma medication can effectively alleviate these symptoms, but continued use of the drug can cause a person to develop tolerance. In this case, and when a person decides to use Soma drug for recreational purposes, dependence is possible. Dependence and abuse of the drug can lead to addiction, which can cause a person to take too much of the medication. In turn, this can lead to many potential side effects and harmful events in the patient’s body.

What Is Soma?

Soma is a type of prescription medicine that physicians tend to provide to patients who complain about muscle spasms, muscle pain, and related conditions.

Man suffering from back pain at home.

The Soma drug is classified as a centrally acting muscle relaxant. While it is known that the medication is effective at producing a reduction in levels of muscle pain that a patient may be experiencing, medical experts do not seem to have a 100% accurate explanation of how exactly the drug works to produce these effects. The most common suggestion is that the active compounds alter how nerves communicate with some regions of the human brain. In turn, this can help to reduce pain sensations.

Brand and Generic Names

Soma muscle relaxer is a brand-name prescription drug. While this is the most common brand name that patients are provided with when they complain about muscle pain, there are other names by which the medication is also known.

What is Soma generic name? A Carisoprodol pill is essentially the generic or “actual” name for the drug. There are a couple of countries that also sell medicine under the name “CariSoma.”

It should be noted that, due to the addiction potential of the drug, some people have started to sell this medication on the street.

It has led to several “street names” for the drugs being created. Ds and Dance are the most common street names used for Soma drug.

What Is Soma Used For?

The medication comes in the form of a tablet that is taken orally. A typical prescription strength would be a Carisoprodol 350 mg tablet, but the dosage would depend on the patient that is receiving treatment.

FDA-Approved Usage

The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has officially approved the use of Soma medicine in patients who suffer from muscle pain and muscle spasms. The FDA has not provided approval for any other purposes for the particular drug.

Longer-term use leads to a higher risk of dependence and an increase in the Carisoprodol withdrawal that may occur when the patient stops using the medicine.

Off-Label Usage

Doctors tend to only prescribe this drug to individuals who are experiencing musculoskeletal pain. There are no reported off-label uses that are considered appropriate for this particular medicine.

Soma Abuse Key Statistics

Carisoprodol, along with many other prescription drugs, is often abused by the general population. There are various reasons why people tend to abuse these drugs. In some cases, the patient finds that the prescribed dose does not work as effectively anymore. In other cases, the individual craves the sedative or other effects that sometimes occur with certain drugs.

The Following Essential Statistics Are Reported Regarding the Use of Soma Pills Among the American Population:

  • An estimated 5.1% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 abused prescription painkillers in 2015. Looking at a broader category, a reported 2.40% of the population abused prescription pain killers among those aged 12 years or older.
  • An estimated 1.40% of those individuals over 12 abuse prescription sedative medication at least on one occasion every month.
  • The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than two million individuals in the United States who are older than 12 years of age abused Soma at least once in the past.

Carisoprodol During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Using Carisoprodol while pregnant is not advised. It is especially important during the first three months of pregnancy. The unborn baby may be harmed by the physiological effects that the medicine has on the human body, along with the risk that the active chemicals of the drug may reach the developing fetus. From months three to six, some women may benefit from using this drug to reduce musculoskeletal pain.

Pregnant woman taking Soma medication.

After six months of pregnancy, the medication should only be used when necessary and when a patient has discussed it with a physician.

Similarly, Carisoprodol and breastfeeding is also not an advised combination. It has been found that using Soma medication while breastfeeding may cause some of the active chemicals to pass into the woman’s breast milk. It could affect the baby that is being breastfed.

Is Soma Addictive?

Soma medication was once considered a safe option for the treatment of muscle-related pain. Still, many reports have recently surfaced regarding the high addictive risk of the chemicals found in the substance.

Physical Addiction

When a person builds up a tolerance to a drug, the body may no longer function as it used to. In turn, the effects of physical addiction may include pain after the individual has taken their regular dose of the medicine. It is often what causes the person to increase their dosage without consulting with a doctor first. Some individuals may take advantage of Soma interactions and abuse other drugs or alcohol alongside Carisoprodol.

Psychological Addiction

The side effects that Soma pills tend to cause are often what causes a person to develop a psychological addiction. Users experience a sedative side effect that feels like euphoria for many people. Once the effect has gone away, the person may want to take another dose to experience these side effects again.

Short And Long-Term Effects Of Abuse

What are the side effects of Soma addiction? When an addiction develops, a person is likely to take a larger dose they are advised to – this can cause a higher risk of severe side effects. Additionally, long-term use of the drug is generally not considered safe.

Physical

There are specific physical effects to look for when it comes to Soma medication abuse and addiction. Many people will start to make frequent appointments, often at different physicians, to get their hands on multiple prescriptions. These prescriptions are then distributed to various pharmacies. The person may also experience more severe physical side effects like a rapid heart rate and a higher risk of seizures.

Mental

Individuals who are addicted to Soma muscle relaxer may be irritable and also experience agitation. Depression is also a possible effect of Carisoprodol abuse, along with symptoms of insomnia. A lot of people with this particular problem also experience impairment in their cognitive function.

Social

When a person develops a dependence on the drug, they may start to withdraw from the social activities that once brought them joy. The individual may also begin to remove from family and friends and instead prefer to isolate themselves.

Carisoprodol Withdrawal And Detox

Soma withdrawal is the effects that an individual experiences after they stop taking it.

The symptoms can be brutal to the individual if not handled with the care they need. This is especially the case where the individual took a high dose and then stopped on short notice. It is worse if there is no help from a trained professional.

Depressed woman suffering from Soma withdrawal.

Discontinuing Carisoprodol without the advice of a medical expert can cause severe withdrawals. The symptoms are usually divided into two: short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Ataxia (loss of muscle coordination)
  • Muscle twitching
  • Tremors and chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Muddled thinking
  • Intense cravings
  • High emotions and reaction to stress

They usually occur a few hours after one has stopped taking the drug and do not last for longer than a few days or weeks. Long-term effects are those that remain with the patient for a more extended period, sometimes years. They are usually characterized as psychological, and they include insomnia, anxiety, or depression.

How To Prevent Soma Withdrawal

As a muscle relaxant, the Soma drug is usually prescribed for a short period to prevent addiction. That is because it contains meprobamate, an active metabolite that causes dependence. A trained physician should only prescribe Soma medicine. Typically, a doctor will prescribe 250 mg to 350 mg as a standard dosage for Carisoprodol.

Any discontinuation of the drug should be under the watchful eye of a trained medical provider who can help with a procedure called tapering down. It involves slowly reducing the dosage over some time until the body is used to its absence.

Tapering is further divided into the short taper, which involves reducing the dosage over four days, and the long taper, which reduces the drug dosage over nine days. If the patient was taking large quantities of the medicine, such as 1400mg a day, the doctor can start by giving them a 350 mg dosage.

For users who are already addicted, tapering down might not work as expected, and they might need to detox from the drug.

Addiction Treatment

The treatment of addiction to Soma medication depends on how severe the patient’s condition is and how long they have been taking the drug.

Does Soma show up on a drug test? While the answer is generally no, it is essential to note that the drug may still be active in a person’s body for some time after they stopped using it. As the chemicals leave the individual’s body, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Professional assistance at a rehabilitation facility can help patients manage these withdrawal symptoms and effectively overcome their addiction.

Counseling is often utilized to assist in the treatment of addiction to Carisoprodol and similar painkillers. Preventative steps can also be taken when the person first starts to show signs of dependence. Soma vs. Flexeril may be compared, for example. In such a case, when a person builds up a tolerance to Soma medication, they do not have to increase the dosage of the drug to experience a relief of their symptoms. Instead, the person turns to another drug at a low dose that they do not have a tolerance to.

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Page Sources

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Published on: June 7th, 2019

Updated on: August 31st, 2021

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.