Prescription Muscle Relaxers: What Are Rx Muscle Relaxers?

Bottles of Prescription Muscle Relaxers

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Spasms and tense in the body are often the cause of neck and back pain. Usually, regular over-the-counter pain medication may be enough to deal with such problems. In situations where a severe pain takes place, strong muscle relaxers are prescribed. Rx muscle relaxers help to reduce spasms, increase the mobility of the tissues affected, and relieve the patient of the pain that accompanies the issue. Various muscle relaxant drugs have different chemical compositions so that they can give pain relief in different ways. Recognizing their types, common names, and being aware of their potential harm will help to undergo treatment successfully when muscle relaxers prescription is obtained.

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Table Of Contents:

Prescription Muscle Relaxers Types

Muscle relaxants are prescribed for treating spasms or spasticity, but the chemical composition required for each medication varies. They are divided by types, and recognizing these types will help to learn how muscle relaxers work. There are antispasmodics, antispastics, and other off-label prescription drugs that can be used instead of prescription muscle relaxers.

doctor explains muscle relaxers prescription

Antispasmodic Muscle Relaxants Names

Antispasmodic work by altering the conduction of the central nervous system to decrease the occurrence of spasms in the user. Examples of antispasmodic medication include:

Carisoprodol

It is available in three types; regular, combination with aspirin or combination with aspirin and codeine. Carisoprodol is available in tablet form and helps to relax the body and ease any pain and stiffness resulting from acute muscle and bone problems. It has a C rating in the FDA’s medication safety ranking for pregnant women.

Chlorzoxazone

This prescription muscle relaxant is used for pain and discomfort relief from acute musculoskeletal conditions. Chlorzoxazone is available in tablet form and is not suitable for people with liver problems. Adherence to the doctor’s advice is always a better option than seeking detoxification in case of misuse.

Cyclobenzaprine

This common prescription muscle relaxer helps to ease the pain and stiffness resulting from cramps. Cyclobenzaprine is available in regular tablet and extended-release capsules. It is intended for short-term use and not recommended for people with heart or liver problems. It has a B rating in the FDA’s medication safety ranking for pregnant women.

woman experiencing neck pain

Metaxalone

This prescription muscle relaxant targets any pain or spasm resulting from injuries, strains, and sprains. Dosage forms are tablets and injections.

It is not recommended for people that have liver or kidney problems, and it may also affect the blood sugar test levels in people living with diabetes.

Methocarbamol

Methocarbamol is the most suitable treatment for acute pain. It is also available in tablet form or with injections.

It is not recommended for people dealing with renal failure or malfunction. It has a C rating in the FDA’s medication safety ranking for pregnant women.

Orphenadrine

It is available as an extended-release tablet. It has a “C” rating in the FDA’s medication safety ranking for pregnant women. It is not a drug of choice for people with glaucoma or people dealing with certain ulcers.

Anti-spastic Muscle Relaxants Names

Spasticity is a condition when the muscles become toned and stiff to the extent that undesirable and uncontrolled movements begin to occur. Antispasticity agents work on the spine and the skeletal muscles, helping to increase the hypertonicity of the tissues and decrease those involuntary spasms.

man suffering from leg pain
Examples of antispastic agents include:

Baclofen

It is a centrally-acting skeletal strong muscle relaxant that has FDA-labeled indications for spasticity and spasms that are tied to CNS lesions, such as spinal cord lesions or multiple sclerosis. Baclofen brings relief by blocking the nerve signals sent from the spinal cord, causing the spasm. It is available in tablet form and can be used by people as young as 12 years old.

It has a C rating in the FDA’s medication safety ranking for pregnant women, which suggests that it is only recommended to be used if it’s expected benefits outweigh the risks involved.

Dantrolene

This RX muscle relaxer helps to manage severe spasticity resulting from spinal injuries. Dantrolene is also valid for managing other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. It is available in tablet form and even intravenous powder form (for injections).

It has been known to cause liver problems, so it is strongly recommended that people with existing liver problems should avoid the drug. It also has a “C” rating in the FDA’s medication safety ranking for pregnant women.

Off-Label Muscle Relaxants

Apart from the aforementioned medication, there are off-label prescription drugs that can serve as powerful muscle relaxers even though that is not the original purpose for which they were developed. For instance, benzodiazepines can serve as good alternatives to muscle relaxers for anxiety.
Commonly known medications that can act as off-label prescription muscle relaxants include:

  • Benzodiazepines: Diazepam, Clonazepam, Alprazolam, Lorazepamcan, etc.
  • Alpha-Agonist Hypotensive Agents: Clonidine,
  • Anti-seizure drugs: Gabapentin,
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, etc.

How To Get Prescribed Muscle Relaxers?

Set an appointment with a medical doctor if one feels spasms, or severe back or neck pain. The doctor can diagnose to see if the patient suffers from any health conditions that may affect the function of the drug and be able to prescribe adequate medication and dose. Herbal muscle relaxers can be advised as an alternative for those who can’t obtain muscle relaxers prescription.

Doctor giving muscle relaxants prescription

Who Can Prescribe Muscle Relaxants?

Can chiropractors prescribe muscle relaxers? While they are licensed to operate in all states in the U.S.A and over 30 countries worldwide, only a few states actually grant permission for them to prescribe drugs. Before receiving a prescription from a chiropractor, find out if they have a license to do so in a state where a patient is located. However, it is still much safer and highly recommended that any muscle relaxer prescriptions should be gotten from a medical doctor, if possible.

Are Muscle Relaxers A Controlled Substance?

These drugs are considered to be controlled substances in the United States. It is illegal to sell or acquire muscle relaxers OTC. The Controlled Substances Act of the United States includes Schedule I to Schedule IV rating scale for controlled substances. Soma, for example, is known to fall under Schedule IV, which means that it is the drug which has a low potential for abuse. Getting high on muscle relaxers can lead to life-threatening circumstances, so the prescribed dose should never be exceeded.

Prescription Muscle Relaxants Warnings

Misuse or abrupt discontinuation of prescription muscle relaxants may lead to withdrawal symptoms varying from mild to severe. Misuse or abuse of the medication can also lead to muscle relaxant overdose symptoms. They may weaken the body, making it necessary to avoid challenging activities or those that require close attention. Anyone that is found in the habit of misuse, abuse, or excessive dependence on this medication must immediately be taken for professional addiction treatment. The medication generally begins to work within thirty minutes, but some of them last as long as four to six hours within the system.

People over the age of 65 years, people that have liver problems and people that have a brain or mental disorder must all speak to a doctor before attempting to use this medication.


Additionally, prescription muscle relaxants must not be taken with:

Muscle relaxants are habit-forming drugs, so if a patient gets addicted, enrolling in a rehabilitation program in a drug rehab facility will be required to get rid of the addiction.

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View Sources
  1. Corey Witenko, Robin Moorman-Li, Carol Motycka, Kevin Duane, Juan Hincapie-Castillo, Paul Leonard, and Christopher Valaer, Considerations for the Appropriate Use of Skeletal Muscle Relaxants for the Management Of Acute Low Back Pain, June 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103716/
  2. S, Ginzburg, Skeletal Muscle Relaxants, Feb 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18225966/
  3. Toth PP, Urtis J. Clin Ther, September 2004. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15530999/
  4. National Institutes of Health, Drug Record for Muscle Relaxants, July 2019. https://livertox.nih.gov/MuscleRelaxants.htm

More About Muscle Relaxants:

Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

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