Friday, October 26, 2007

Muscle relaxants

Brand Name: Soma
Chemical Name: carisoprodol

Brand Name: Flexeril
Chemical Name: cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride

Brand Name: Valium
Chemical Name: diazepam

Brand Name: Skelaxin
Chemical Name: metaxalone

Brand Name: Robaxin
Chemical Name: methocarbamol

The muscle-relaxing effects of this class of medication are most likely the result of their ability to depress the central nervous system. They are also called sedatives.

Why It Is Used

Muscle relaxants can be helpful when severe muscle spasms follow the start of low back pain.

Diazepam (Valium) and carisoprodol (such as Soma) are not recommended for use by pregnant women, older adults, or people who have depression or a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

How Well It Works

For acute low back pain, muscle relaxants improve pain, muscle tension, and mobility more effectively than a placebo does.1 However, side effects are common.

For chronic low back pain, muscle relaxants may relieve pain and lead to overall improvement, but side effects are common.2

Side Effects

Possible side effects of muscle relaxants include:

* Drowsiness or dizziness.
* Possible addiction or dependence.
* Dry mouth.
* Urinary retention.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

Muscle relaxants should only be taken at bedtime and never before driving or operating machinery.

Use of muscle relaxants is restricted to short-term use to avoid addiction.