Muscles bear the grunt of our strenuous physical activities. Muscle relaxants are drugs that relieve us of discomfort and pain associated with muscle related injuries like sprains, strains and spasms. Though they alleviate pain, these relaxers are not prescribed for other body aches or painful conditions. Carisoprodol is one of the several common muscle relaxers that work to relieve pain sensations in the muscles.
How does Carisoprodol work? Carisoprodol, also called Soma, is a muscle relaxer that works by blocking electrical communication between the nerves in the reticular formation of the brain and the spinal cord. It does not work directly on the tense muscles, but just cuts the pain sensations the nerves send to the brain. By this, the drug gives a temporary relaxation to the muscles.
Treatment: Carisoprodol is used in treatment of strains, spasms, muscle injuries that result in stiffness and pain in the joints. The drug does not heal any injury but only helps in easing the pain for a short term. It should generally be accompanied with exercise, physiotherapy and rest.
Side effects: Carisoprodol side effects vary from individual to individual. Some people can have allergic reactions which can lead to difficulty in breathing, formation of hives, swelling of face, lips, tongue and throat, drowsiness, dizziness, tremors, headaches, depression, sleep problems, nausea, vomiting, hiccups, stomach upset etc. Serious side effects of the drug include paralysis, extreme weakness, seizure, vision loss or agitation.
Carisoprodol less-known facts: On the whole, carisoprodol may look like a drug that is perfect for muscle relaxation. But only few know about its potential for abuse and withdrawal symptoms. Below are a few less-known facts about the drug:
1. Metabolism of carisoprodol: Carisoprodol acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) and does not act on the tense muscles. As a centrally acting muscle relaxant, the drug lasts for about four to six hours. It undergoes metabolism in the liver and is eliminated via the kidneys. The drug is pharmacologically and chemically related to meprobamate, a potentially addictive agent.
2. Carisoprodol dependency: Since carisoprodol is by every manner a meprobamate, frequent use of the drug can result in meprobamate addiction or dependency. Meprobamate dependency can be a possible complication which can lead to drug abuse and addiction.
3. Withdrawal symptoms: If you feel you are stuck in carisoprodol addiction, do not withdraw from it suddenly. Carisoprodol withdrawal can result in seizures and coma. Do not stop taking the drug suddenly if you have become addicted to it. Seek your doctor’s guidance on how to withdraw from the drug slowly, without causing any serious conditions.
Another warning with regard to Carisoprodol is regarding dosage. Since this is generally a non-scheduled prescription drug, you need to be careful about the dosage. Do not take the drug in large amounts. Always stick to your doctor’s instructions with regard to drug interactions and dosage.
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