Are Muscle Relaxers A Narcotic?

Are muscle relaxers a narcotic

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There is a great advancement in pain management medicines and with the fast effective treatment the use has risen. Many muscle relaxers use CNS or sedation methods to reduce the pain but apparently many people abuse it and the medicine becomes a controlled medicine. Hence oftenly it is sometimes misguided as Narcotic.

Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants do not belong to a single class of medicines; rather these are a group of different medicines that help in the relaxation of muscles and reduce muscle pain due to stiffness, spasms, cramps, and other muscular injuries.

Classification of Muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants are divided into three major groups

  • Neuromuscular blockers
  • Spasmolytics
  • Medicines used for local spasms
  • Neuromuscular blockers

The medicines in this group cause the relaxation of muscles by blocking the transmission of nerve signals to the neuromuscular junctions.
They are used in the relaxation of muscles for the smooth performance of a surgical procedure.
They can be used in patients with artificial respiration to help in the relaxation of respiratory muscles.
Also used in the treatment of convulsions.

The medicines in this group are further divided as:

  • Depolarizing medicines

This group contains a medicine named succinylcholine. (suxamethonium)

  • Non-depolarizing medicines

This group is further classified as

  1. Steroids (Vecuronium, Rocuronium, Pipecuronium, etc.)
  2. Isoquinolines (Tubocurarine, Metocurine, Doxacurium etc)
  3. Miscellaneous (Gallamine)
  • Spasmolytics

The reason why they are called spasmolytics is that they help to relieve muscular spasms.
The medicines in this are divided into two main categories

  1. Direct acting: They act directly on the muscles and help in relaxation such as Dantrolene. (Dantrium)
  2. Centrally acting: They act on the central nervous system and cause relaxation of muscles such as Tizanidine, Diazepam, Baclofen, Pergolide, Glycine, and Cyclobenzaprine
  • Medicines used for acute local spasms:

These medicines are used for the treatment of local muscle spasms due to injury as Cyclobenzaprine, Carisoprodol, Chlorphenesin, metaxalone, Methocarbamol, and Orphenadrine.

Narcotics- Detailed View

Narcotics are also called opioids/opiates, and these are generally medicines or chemicals that have the potential to be misused or can cause physical or mental dependence or you can say serious addictions.
They act on the opioid receptors and block pain sensations from reaching the brain.
They are mainly used to treat moderate to chronic pain and act directly on the central nervous system which causes narcolepsy (sleepiness), is extracted from the poppy plant and made synthetically in laboratories such as opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, methadone, meperidine, levorphanol, etc.

There are two types of narcotics

  • Legal
  • Illegal (their sale is prohibited such as Heroin, cocaine, etc.)

The sale of legal narcotics is tightly controlled by government regularities and is only available on the prescription of a registered healthcare practitioner.

How Medicines Are Decided As Narcotics?

Certain medicines are decided as narcotics in the following ways:

  • If the medicines act on the opioid receptors and produce analgesia.
  • If the medicines act directly on CNS and cause depression, drowsiness, and dizziness.
  • If the medicine has the potential to be misused or abuse
  • If it causes physical and mental dependence.
  • If it causes serious addictions.
  • If the use of medicine requires great caution.

Factors That Establish The Substance Is Narcotic?

The word narcotic is related to narcosis which means sleep induction.

Some are the factors that establish that the substance is narcotic are:

  • The source of a certain substance is poppy or cannabis/coca
  • The substance can cause central nervous system depression.
  • The substance is a hallucinogen and causes euphoria and drowsiness.
  • Regulatory bodies have declared that the substance has the potential to be misused and can cause physical and mental dependence.

Can A Muscle Relaxer Be Declared As Narcotic?

No, Muscle relaxants are not narcotics, although they can cause dizziness, drowsiness (Sleepy), and euphoria they are not addictive as those narcotics.
Muscle relaxants also act on the central nervous system as narcotics but the patient does not get physical and mental dependence while using them.

International guidelines on medicine control do not declare muscle relaxants as narcotics as there is no potential for their misuse. However they can be controlled by the government for some specified muscle relaxers.

Fact: There has been a conception that muscle relaxers can make you last longer in bed. Although it has some effect on making you spend time more but should be used for the invented purpose.

What Are The Consequences Of Associating With Narcotics?

There are serious consequences that are associated with narcotics, they not only destroy your health but also your social behavior as well.

  • Mental illness
  • Serious addictions such as physical and mental dependence, one cannot survive without taking narcotics
  • Heart attack and strokes
  • Kidney and liver failures
  • Thinking impairment
  • Respiratory depression
  • Weakened immune system
  • Death, because narcotics tend to kill if they are abused.
  • Jail or life sentences due to trafficking or using.


Most muscle relaxants act on the central nervous system i.e. brain and relieve pain due to muscle spasms, stiffness, and other muscle injuries. Narcotics also act on the brain and help to relieve pain.

It is concluded that muscle relaxants can produce analgesia equal to narcotics but they are not declared as narcotics because they do not have origins like that of narcotics and do not cause serious physical and mental addictions as that of narcotics.