Flexeril, recognized by its generic name cyclobenzaprine, is a muscle relaxant. Flexeril is used along with physical therapy to treat skeletal muscle conditions such as pain injury or spasms. It works by blocking the nerve impulses or pain sensations that are being sent to the brain.
Flexeril side effects are minimal, but there are few long terms risks. Flexeril is currently not categorized as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The drug has a slight potential for abuse due to its sedating effects.
People sometimes abuse Flexeril for its subjective high, categorized by feelings of sedations, relaxations, and mild euphoria. Flexeril is abused along with CNS depressants such as Alcohol, Benzodiazepines (Kaye, A.M. and Kaye, A.D., 2015).
Study on the Effects of Flexeril
A study on the effects of cyclobenzaprine in animals showed that cyclobenzaprine reduced or eliminated skeletal muscle hyperactivity. Cyclobenzaprine does not act at the neuromuscular junction or directly on skeletal muscle.
According to this research, cyclobenzaprine works mainly in the central nervous system at the brain stem level rather than the spinal cord. Still, its action on the latter may add to its total skeletal muscle relaxant activity. Evidence suggests that cyclobenzaprine has a net effect of reducing tonic somatic motor activity, affecting both the gamma and alpha motor systems (Linden, C.H., Mitchiner, J.C., Lindzon, R.D. and Rumack, B.H., 1983)
Although Flexeril isn’t a controlled substance, it does possess slight abuse potential. The side effects of Flexeril abuse include:
- Elevated heart rate.
- Excessive drowsiness.
- Dry mouth.
- Impaired cognitive function.
- Physiological dependence.
Data of Muscle Relaxers Being Abused
A search of skeletal muscle relaxant exposures reported to the Florida Poison Information Center Network from 2009 to 2012 was done to explore the potential shift in abuse or misuse of drugs after carisoprodol was categorized as a controlled substance. Intentional abuse of carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine, and a combination of additional muscle relaxants were among the data gathered.
After carisoprodol was categorized as a controlled substance in 2012, there were 75 occurrences of carisoprodol exposure, compared to an average of 132 cases per year between 2009 and 2011. Surprisingly, the instances of cyclobenzaprine poisoning fell to 27 in 2012, down from an average of 36 per year between 2009 and 2011 (Witenko C, Moorman-Li R, Motycka C, et al).