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Mixing Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol: The Dangers

Cyclobenzaprine is a prescription medicine that helps to treat muscle spasms. Physicians commonly prescribe the drug as a short-term aid to help reduce spasms in the muscles. Used in conjunction with physical therapy and rest, this muscle-relaxing medication is usually prescribed for no longer than three weeks.

You’ll find cyclobenzaprine in brand name medications such as Flexeril, Fexmid, and Amrix. Again, this drug is only meant to be a short-term aid for reducing muscle spasms and should not be taken longer than three weeks. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Cyclobenzaprine Side Effects

As with many medications, there may be side effects that you experience while taking this drug.  Note that not everyone feels all the side effects. You may feel one, three, five, or none. It depends on various factors.

Common side effects to look for include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth

More serious side effects could be:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty urinating

As with any drug, if any symptoms persist or become worse, consult your doctor immediately.

Interactions With Other Drugs

Using other drugs while taking cyclobenzaprine is not recommended because it can pose serious risks. Various drugs, including alcohol, have been known to induce serious side effects. The following is a list of some of the drugs you’ll want to stay away from while using cyclobenzaprine: 

  • Antidepressants
  • MAO inhibitors
  • SNRIs
  • SSRIs
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
  • St. John’s wort
  • Tramadol
  • Other muscle relaxants
  • Opioids
  • Medicines that make you feel drowsy
  • Bupropion (Zyban)
  • Sinus, cold, or allergy medication that contains an antihistamine
  • Overactive bladder medication
  • Digestive medications antacids
  • Verapamil
  • Meperidine
  • Asthma medication
  • Sleeping pills
  • Various herbal products
  • Various OTC medicines

Note that this list is not exhaustive, so always consult with your doctor before taking a new medication.

Physicians also say that you shouldn’t take cyclobenzaprine if you have a heart blockage, thyroid disorder, heart disorders, or if you’ve had a heart attack recently. In addition, don’t take it if you’ve been on a MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks.

Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol

sad-man-at-table-holding-flexeril-and-alcohol

If you’re taking medication that has cyclobenzaprine and you drink alcohol, too, you can experience more intense side effects such as dizziness, trouble focusing, and drowsiness. You may find it more challenging to think clearly or make good decisions. You may also experience more dangerous side effects. All of these are reasons to resist drinking alcohol while taking cyclobenzaprine.

Alcohol is a depressant, and so are medications like Flexeril. To mix the two is a recipe for disaster. Whether you’re doing it on purpose to try to get intoxicated, or if you forget you’ve taken the medication and consume alcohol, it’s nothing to play around with.

The warning label on Flexeril states that if you take the drug, it may “enhance the effects of alcohol.” This can be extremely dangerous, especially if you get into your motor vehicle and drive while under the influence of both drugs. More accidents, in general, occur when you mix different drugs, even over-the-counter drugs.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2011, out of about 52,000 emergency room visits involving muscle relaxants, 18 percent were in direct relation to the person using both alcohol and Flexeril. This shows that the mixture of the two drugs can cause severe and dangerous consequences.

Alcohol: Is There a Safe Amount?

According to Drugs.com, if you’re taking medications that have cyclobenzaprine in them, you should not drink alcohol at all or limit your use to a minimal amount. Also, take the recommended dose of the muscle relaxer and beware that it can make you very drowsy. You might want to avoid driving your vehicle or operating machinery that could harm you should you doze off.

man-holding-cyclobenzaprine-and-alcohol

Treatment for Flexeril Addiction

Flexeril is one medication that has cyclobenzaprine as an ingredient. You may have become addicted to Flexeril or another muscle relaxant that contains cyclobenzaprine. Many treatment approaches can help you in overcoming an addiction.

Detox

Whether you’re addicted to Flexeril or any other drug, the first step toward treatment is going through detox. This is the time when your body will be detoxed from the toxic chemicals associated with the drugs. You may experience some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Detox facilities can help you in getting through detox with minimal discomfort.

Residential Treatment

With detox being the first step toward recovery from addiction, the second step is continuing treatment at a treatment facility. A residential treatment center offers you the opportunity to live at the center for a specific time to work on your recovery from the addiction. There, you will be under the supervision of substance abuse professionals around the clock.

You’ll have access to a physician and a counselor, as there could be some underlying issues that need to be addressed. You’ll be able to have an assessment done to see if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.

You may have the opportunity to attend support groups, and you’ll have a bit of free time as well. Some people decide to stay at a residential treatment center for a short time, which may be 28 days. Others who have a more severe addiction opt to stay longer, perhaps 60, 90, or longer. The time frame will depend on your wants and needs.

Outpatient Treatment

If you can’t pack up and live at the treatment facility, there are outpatient treatment centers that can help you. They operate similarly to residential centers. The main difference is that you won’t spend your time there. You may attend various sessions throughout the week and then go home after each session.

You’ll still have access to a physician and counselor, and you’ll probably be encouraged to follow up with some support groups in the community. This is a great option for those who cannot get away from their job or family responsibilities for the duration of treatment.

Sources

SAMSHA. Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visit. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED.pdf

Drugs.com. Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) and Alcohol / Food Interactions. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/food-interactions/cyclobenzaprine,flexeril.html

Web MD. Cyclobenzaprine. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8888-8087/cyclobenzaprine-oral/cyclobenzaprine-oral/details

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