Soma vs. Flexeril & Other Alternatives – Which One to Choose

Last Updated: August 31, 2021

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Individuals using Soma (Carisoprodol) for musculoskeletal pain relief can opt for alternatives when they fail to get the desired effects or due to its severe side effects and potential for addiction. While Carisoprodol is the right drug choice for some patients, for others, its alternatives are required. Before switching, find out information about Soma vs. Flexeril comparison and its available over-the-counter alternatives.

Soma vs. Flexeril

The Soma pill is a muscle relaxant used to treat musculoskeletal pain, so any alternative to the drug needs to act on the body in the same way. Users who want to try an alternative treatment option are in luck, as many other medications fall into the muscle relaxant category. For example, Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is another muscle relaxant used for short-term pain management due to musculoskeletal disorders.

Similarities and Differences

Soma vs. Flexeril comparison is quite interesting as these drugs are pretty similar. Their intended purpose is to achieve a similar effect, i.e., muscle spasms and pain relief. These are used as adjuncts to physical therapy and rest. Both are prescription-only drugs, which come in oral dosage form (tablets and capsules) and are not available over-the-counter in the USA.

Pill bottles with different prescription pills.

Even though the desired effect of both muscle relaxants is the same, the mechanism of action differs. As stated in the Carisoprodol study, it produces its effects by centrally acting and altering interneuronal activity in the spinal cord. On the other hand, cyclobenzaprine affects muscle activity by acting on the spinal cord and brain stem level.

In addition, when comparing Soma with Flexeril, the former is more potent than the latter and is likely to cause addiction and dependence. Also, Flexeril belongs to pregnancy category B, whereas Carisoprodol is a category C drug, and there is no information for it being harmful during gestation in humans.

Indications for Use

Carisoprodol is indicated for the short-term treatment of the pain and spasm associated with musculoskeletal disorders. While comparing Flexeril vs. Soma, the former is also used in the conditions mentioned above.

Side Effects

When comparing Soma vs. Flexeril, some common side effects are drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and nervousness. Their possible serious side effects are stroke, abnormal heartbeat, seizures, and heart attack.

Looking at Flexeril vs. Soma side effects, the different effects of the former medication are irritability, depression, tachycardia, weakness, raised heart rate, and difficulty speaking. In addition, addiction is also a side effect of prolonged use of Carisoprodol.

Some of the adverse effects of cyclobenzaprine that differ from Carisoprodol are dry mouth, confusion, fatigue, and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Which One Is More Effective?

When looking at Soma vs. Flexeril, both are effective in musculoskeletal pain management. However, Flexeril is reportedly a more effective muscle relaxant; hence, it is better for patients with physical dependence. Furthermore, the sedative nature of cyclobenzaprine aids patients with insomnia. On the other hand, medical professionals don’t prescribe Carisoprodol for the long-term treatment plan as it has the potential for addiction.

Robaxin vs. Soma

When looking at Robaxin vs. Soma, there is a lot that is similar between them. While methocarbamol is not the same as Carisoprodol, they both relax the muscles, come in generic versions, and are offered in pill form. Still, the medications are unique from each other. For example, Carisoprodol is considered highly addictive while Robaxin is not. Robaxin also has the option of injections, while Carisoprodol does not.

Similarities and Differences

When comparing Robaxin vs. Soma, both are prescription muscle relaxants used to treat muscular pain. Both have teratogenic effects and belong to category C; therefore, their use is not recommended in pregnancy.

Pregnant woman holding Robaxin vs. Soma pills in hands.

Moreover, as a treatment option, both Soma vs. Robaxin are used as adjuncts with physical therapy and rest.

Although these drugs have similarities, as mentioned earlier, when discussing Methocarbamol vs. Soma, they still differ. Carisoprodol is categorized as a schedule IV controlled substance, while Robaxin is not a controlled drug.

Indications for Use

Robaxin vs. Soma are prescribed for similar indications. Musculoskeletal acute pain is the indication for which Robaxin is used. Carisoprodol is used for a similar indication to relieve pain and discomfort associated with musculoskeletal conditions for a shorter duration of up to 3-4 weeks.

Side Effects

Though both drugs manage pain due to musculoskeletal disorders, they come with bothersome effects.

Considering the Soma vs. Robaxin Adverse Effects on Health, a Few Common Effects Between Both the Drugs Are:

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia

Some of Robaxin’s side effects that differ from Carisoprodol’s are flushing, light-headedness, disorientation, confusion, memory problems, rash, and double vision. On the other hand, Carisoprodol’s side effects that differ from Robaxin include depression, irritability, and tremors.

Which One Is More Effective?

Ultimately, there are benefits and drawbacks to each medication. When comparing Robaxin vs. Soma, it is essential to keep in mind which features matter most. While Carisoprodol is generally rated more highly by users than Robaxin, that doesn’t mean it is inherently the better choice.

The effectiveness of Robaxin is established for muscular pain relief with fewer sedative properties; however, when comparing Methocarbamol vs. Soma, the former medication should only be used in multimodal therapy and be monitored by a medical professional.

Soma vs. Baclofen

When looking at Baclofen compared to Carisoprodol, there isn’t much in common. Both are muscle relaxants and have good ratings from users, and they are roughly the same price. However, Baclofen is not like Carisoprodol beyond that.

Similarities and Differences

Baclofen and Carisoprodol can only be acquired on the prescription of a registered medical professional. While the purpose of both drugs is to relieve spasms, Baclofen is not recommended to be used in any spasms other than caused by multiple sclerosis.

Carisoprodol has a potential for addiction and dependence, while Baclofen has no such probability. In addition, when comparing Soma vs. Baclofen, prolonged use of Baclofen during pregnancy results in neonatal withdrawal symptoms following the delivery, while Carisoprodol doesn’t.

Indications for Use

Baclofen is a first-line treatment recommended to relieve the flexor spasm and pain, muscle rigidity, and clonus caused by multiple sclerosis. It can be used in patients with spinal cord disorders and injuries.

Man with pain in hus hands.

Carisoprodol is indicated for pain and spasm management due to musculoskeletal conditions. However, it is not the first-line treatment option due to its addiction and dependence potential, as per the available information.

Side Effects

Common Side Effects Observed After the Use of Both Drugs Are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy

Which One Is More Effective?

When it comes to Soma vs. Baclofen, there is no comparison as both of the drugs are indicated for spasms caused by different diseases. However, Baclofen is an effective relaxant and first-line treatment option used in patients with spasticity and clonus.

Other Soma Alternatives

To manage muscular pain spasms, the drugs discussed above are not the only available muscle relaxants. Some of the commonly prescribed and used alternatives to manage muscular pain are discussed below in detail.

Meprobamate

Meprobamate has very little in common with Carisoprodol. That is because it is not a muscle relaxant but rather an antianxiety drug. Its ability to relax the muscles is a side effect rather than its design. Users tend to rate Carisoprodol more highly than meprobamate for muscle relaxation and pain. Additionally, when comparing meprobamate and Carisoprodol, the latter costs more per pill but is ultimately cheaper since fewer pills are used. Meprobamate may be the right choice for those with both pain and anxiety but otherwise is unlikely to be the best alternative, especially since it has some mental health side effects that Carisoprodol does not.

Zanaflex

Examining Soma vs. Tizanidine, the two drugs are quite similar. Both treat muscle spasms and are available in generic forms. Neither is considered a first-option medication, and both can be problematic when used by elderly patients. As for what makes them different, Zanaflex does not last as long and takes longer for effects to kick in.

People tend to rate Zanaflex lower in terms of effectiveness. Given that when comparing Soma vs. tizanidine, generic versions of the former come out significantly cheaper, Zanaflex isn’t going to be the best alternative.

Valium

Comparing Valium vs. Soma can be difficult because the medications are from two different drug classes. Valium is a benzodiazepine while Carisoprodol is a muscle relaxant. Technically, both will relax the muscles, but in the case of Valium, that is more a side effect than the purpose of the drug.

However, many people consider it to be a more potent drug with longer-lasting results. Since it is also cheaper, it is considered by many to be an ideal alternative.

Lorzone

Lorzone vs. Soma comparison is interesting as the two medications are seemingly very similar. They are both meant for short-term use, restricted in their application with elderly patients, and are considered secondary choices due to their significant side effects. Ultimately, they are apart because Lorzone is significantly more expensive than Carisoprodol, and it is rated much lower by users.

Tramadol

Tramadol and Soma are two very different drugs. Tramadol belongs to the drug class opiate analgesics and is specifically designed to treat pain by acting on the opioid receptors, unlike Carisoprodol, which treats pain by relaxing the muscles. Both medications are effective at treating different types of pain and are considered addictive. However, tramadol has more significant side effects. It means that in the debate of tramadol vs. Carisoprodol, doctors should only select tramadol if it is clear it will treat the condition better than Carisoprodol. Overall, they are of equal effectiveness but on different types of pain, with tramadol being the more affordable choice.

Getting Help With Detox

Drug selection has to be individualized according to the patient’s condition, the treatment goal, overall benefits to side effects ratio, and cost. Anyone who wants to stop Carisoprodol use should do so in a supervised setting. At a drug rehabilitation center, the right detox treatments and guidance are available. Then once detoxed, other treatment options can be used. Soma alternatives can help fulfill the ultimate treatment goal.

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options. Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

Page Sources

  1. Conermann, T., & Christian, D. (2020). Carisoprodol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553077/
  2. FDA, FLEXERIL (CYCLOBENZAPRINE HCl) Tablets. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2003/017821s045lbl.pdf
  3. Medline Plus. Carisoprodol. 2018. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682578.html
  4. Medline Plus. Cyclobenzaprine. 2017. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682514.html
  5. Federal Register. Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2011/12/12/2011-31542/schedules-of-controlled-substances-placement-of-carisoprodol-into-schedule-iv
  6. Sibrack J, Hammer R. Methocarbamol. [Updated 2020 Dec 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565868

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.