0 sources cited

Is Tizanidine A Narcotic? Zanaflex Drug Class

Last Updated: March 20, 2024

Authored by Daniel Hochman, MD

Reviewed by Dr. Norman Chazin

Knowing the tizanidine drug class is important for anyone using the medication. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about the Zanaflex drug schedule and classification. Here is what users should know, including if tizanidine is a narcotic.

Tizanidine As A Narcotic

Sirdalud, also known as Zanaflex and tizanidine, is a medication that treats muscle spasticity. Narcotics are medications that treat pain by binding to specific receptors in the brain.

However, the answer to if Zanaflex is a narcotic is no. The pain relief it offers is a tizanidine side effect, not the primary action of the medication. As a result, those prescribed tizanidine 4 mg tablets do not need to worry about if they are taking a narcotic.

Zanaflex As A Controlled Substance

The term “controlled substance” can have different meanings depending on how it is being used. When used colloquially, it means any medication that has controlled access—in other words, those that need prescriptions to purchase them. Looking at it this way, the answer to if Zanaflex is a controlled substance is yes.

However, the other way the term is used is in an official capacity by the Drug Enforcement Agency. In this instance, it refers to substances that are on the DEA List of Controlled Substances. Given it does not appear on this list, in this case, the answer to if Zanaflex is a controlled substance is no. However, that does not mean that it cannot be problematic or that people do not use it for Zanaflex high.

Tizanidine As A Benzo

The benzodiazepine drug class encompasses medications that are used to relax or sedate patients by increasing the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Zanaflex can also cause relaxation of the body, which is why many ask if Zanaflex is benzo.

Although it causes physical relaxation, the answer to if tizanidine is benzo is no. It does not function by increasing GABA in the brain, which means this cannot be the tizanidine drug class.

woman lying on couch

Tizanidine As An Opioid

Opioids are medications used to treat pain. Given that a side effect of tizanidine use can be a reduction in pain resulting from muscle spasms, it is common for people to ask if Zanaflex is an opioid.

This means that the answer to if Zanaflex is an opiate is no. An opioid is not the tizanidine drug class.

Zanaflex As An NSAID

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs, are medications that tackle pain by reducing or eliminating the inflammation that causes it. These are mostly available over the counter. Some think Zanaflex is an NSAID because of its effects on pain. However, it does not treat inflammation, meaning this is not the Zanaflex drug class.

Tizanidine As A Muscle Relaxer

Zanaflex works by inhibiting nerve impulses that send messages to the brain that result in muscle tension. The resulting effect is muscle relaxation and a reduced sensation of pain. What tizanidine is used for is the treatment of muscle spasms and pain resulting from injuries or chronic conditions.

This means that those who believe Zanaflex is a muscle relaxer are right.

man taking a white pill

The Tizanidine Schedule and Classification

The correct tizanidine classification is alpha-2-adrenergic agonist. Drugs in the Zanaflex class reduce the nerve activity in the spinal cord that controls muscles, stopping muscle spasms, and addressing the associated pain.

The tizanidine half-life is relatively short, making it a good choice for those who do not want the medicine in the system for long. However, users and their doctors may want to look into alternatives, such as Zanaflex vs. Flexeril.

While there is no Zanaflex schedule from the DEA, it is a drug that can be abused. Recreational use does occur, and sometimes the drug is sold on the street. If someone is misusing the medication, no matter how they obtain it, they need to seek help from a substance abuse center. There, addiction is treated correctly, ensuring the patient can stop use safely and address the problems that drove them to abuse in the first place.

Zanaflex addiction is a very real condition and one that can easily become life-threatening

Anyone who is misusing the medication should not be afraid to seek the help that they need. Drug rehabilitation centers offer the right level of care in an open and encouraging setting. There is no shame in asking for a helping hand.

Page Sources

  1. Pain medications - narcotics. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007489.htm
  2. Controlled Substances - Alphabetical Order. Drug Enforcement Administration. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/orangebook/c_cs_alpha.pdf
  3. Benzodiazepines and Opioids. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids
  4. Prevent Opioid Abuse And Addiction. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/prevention/index.html

Published on: March 19th, 2024

Updated on: March 20th, 2024

About Author

Daniel Hochman, MD

Dr. Daniel Hochman is a board certified Psychiatrist and leader in the field of addiction. He is the creator of a revolutionary online addiction recovery program, selfrecovery.org. Dr. Hochman advocates for using strategies proven through hard science, and describes them in ways that are easy to understand and incorporate into one’s life. His treatment approach focuses on the underlying emotional causes of addiction to achieve a deep, lasting life change.

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Norman Chazin


Leave a comment

Free Insurance Verification

Our team is available to guide you through the steps of assessing your insurance coverage for addiction treatment.