Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) Use, Abuse, And Addiction

Last Updated: October 26, 2020

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) is a muscle relaxant. Flexeril uses would include treatment of pain and discomfort caused by muscle injuries like sprains and strains. This is commonly prescribed as an adjunct to rest and physical therapy.
Cyclobenzaprine Flexeril also has several off-label uses like in fibromyalgia pain. It is believed that Flexeril, working on the CNS, can block pain sensations that would otherwise travel from the muscles to the brain.

Cyclobenzaprine Mechanism of Action

Muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine acts in the brainstem, particularly in the locus coeruleus and in some level of the spinal cord. It works by increasing norepinephrine release through the gamma fibers that innervate and inhibit alpha motor neurons present in the ventral horn of the spinal cord.
This drug blocks the pain sensations that are being sent from sore muscles to the brain; hence one does not recognize or feel it.

What Flexeril Looks Like

Flexeril pillMuscle relaxer Flexeril is a 5-sided pill. It has 2 colors, depending on the dosage. Cyclobenzaprine 10 mg pill is color yellow. The name “Flexeril MSD 931” is imprinted on it. It is contained in a white bottle with some yellow hues. A 5 mg dose has the same shape but is color orange. The pill imprint is just “Flexeril.” The bottle is also color white, but the brand name is printed in blue color. Each bottle contains 100 tablets.
Cyclobenzaprine is also available in capsule form. Skelebenz and Benzaday are less popular brand names for Cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride. Their capsules are color blue and red. Flexeril capsules are color orange.

Is Flexeril Addictive?

People who have prescribed cyclobenzaprine as part of a medical treatment program have a low risk for drug abuse and addiction, provided they follow what  Flexeril is used for. A Cyclobenzaprine 10mg high is only possible if the drug is abused. Given that one of the symptoms of Flexeril addiction is euphoria, many are asking the question, “is cyclobenzaprine a narcotic?” The truth is that this drug belongs to a different class of chemicals. But just because it is not an opioid does not mean it cannot be abused.
People take this drug more often thinking that it will hasten and increase the level of relief from pain and other symptoms.
Cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride acts on the CNS and affects how nerves fire. Most people abuse Flexeril by combining it with other drugs or substances to enhance its effect. Many are using cyclobenzaprine for sleep because its a sedative. Others take it to feel relaxed or to help someone come down from a stimulant drug like cocaine. All of these effects make cyclobenzaprine HCL potentially addictive.
Also because of the wide availability and cyclobenzaprine 10mg street value, this drug is very easy to purchase. It is also common for users to use Flexeril along with other substances for recreation. This creates a more heightened effect, making users more dependent on the drug.
Cyclobenzaprine abuse is well documented. Flexeril is not classified as a controlled substance, but the Drug Enforcement Administration has reported several cases of abuse of this drug. Based on statistics, there was an 87% increase from the years 2004-2011 in the number of ER visits because of Flexeril abuse.

Who Abuses Flexeril and Why?

According to NIDA data in 2014, young adults ages 18-25two young men sitting on the street abuse over the counter Flexeril more as compared to other age groups. Young people are very knowledgeable about computers and the Internet, and they can easily get information on how to use and abuse Flexeril and many good effects it can give when used recreationally.
Also, people with a valid prescription to Flexeril may develop tolerance to the drug. They may be prompted to take higher doses more frequently to get its desirable effects. The brain becomes more accustomed to the action of cyclobenzaprine and starts to rely on it to be able to function normally. But what really happens is that a new host of Flexeril side effects emerge. These include the feeling of being high, which others find relaxing and helpful.

Signs of Cyclobenzaprine Abuse and Addiction

Drug abuse and addiction happen when a toxin is not metabolized and removed from the body successfully, and specific bodily functions are badly affected.
Someone may be addicted to Flexeril if they are experiencing some of the following behaviors:

    • Lack of interested in normal or daily activities
    • Changes in physical appearance like being lax in grooming habits and hygiene
    • Low performance in work or school
    • Failing personal relationships
  • Missing important commitments
  • Lying about the use of cyclobenzaprine pill
  • Taking higher doses than what is prescribed
  • Taking the drug more frequently than recommended
  • Taking Flexeril without a prescription
  • Continuous use of the drug in spite of negative effects
  • Consumption for reasons other than what is cyclobenzaprine used for like to “feel good” or cope with daily problems
  • Making extra effort to get Flexeril
  • Suspending activities to recover after using it
  • Being unsuccessful in quitting the use of the drug
  • Becoming anxious when Flexeril use is being questioned
  • Spending a lot of money buying the drug
  • Obsessing about where to purchase Flexeril
  • Visits several doctors to get more prescriptions

As per Flexeril reviews, other common physical and emotional signs of Flexeril abuse and addiction include:

  • Mood swingsmood swings
  • Slurred speech
  • Changes in sleeping patterns or habits
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Inability to think well
  • Visual disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusual fears
  • Untidy appearance

Possible Dangers of Cyclobenzaprine Abuse

Flexeril generic is not listed as a controlled substance, hence generally safe for consumption as per FDA and DEA. However, when abused recreationally, this drug can become a greater risk to users.
Cyclobenzaprine abuse can cause an overdose, which may lead to serious health problems. One may experience fluctuating body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and convulsion.
A cyclobenzaprine abuser can also develop “anticholinergic toxidrome” brought about by the inhibition of certain neurotransmitters in the CNS. This syndrome may lead to seizures, coma, and heart attack.
Combining cyclobenzaprine and alcohol may cause detrimental effects. Both of these substances are CNS depressants. When taken together, there’s a big tendency that the body’s natural processes will slow down. One important bodily process that these two can affect is respiration.
Abusers are likewise susceptible to making wrong and impulsive decisions when high. This can cause additional risks like meeting a car accident or being involved in a fight.
In cases wherein the user is allergic to cyclobenzaprine, life-threatening conditions like difficulty breathing and massive swelling of the face, tongue, lips, and throat may occur. Rashes, wheezing, and hives may develop within seconds after use and may lead to shock, which demands medical facilities.

Cyclobenzaprine Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for those who abuse Flexeril.
A medically supervised detox is normally the first course of treatment for drug addicts who are at greater risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Medications can likewise be given to help make the rehab process more comfortable and to prevent the possibility of a relapse.
Counseling can help people cope mentally and emotionally with the withdrawal effects of Flexeril. This is the best time to discuss the emotions and subconscious drives that add up to their drug abuse and help remove their doubts if whether cyclobenzaprine is addictive or not. Counseling gives them a great opportunity to know their triggers, and to learn how to use effective coping skills.
There are several rehab facilities that offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Treatment would depend on how long does Flexeril stay in the system, but usually, the minimum is one month.
Even after successfully completing treatment, aftercare is still important. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition, hence maintaining long-term recovery is essential.
For severe cases, maintenance medication, regular drug testing, and residing in a sober community may be suggested.

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Published on: November 30th, 2018

Updated on: October 26th, 2020

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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