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Muscle Relaxants

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Muscle Relaxants or muscle relaxers are drugs that relax certain muscles in the body. We cannot say that muscle relaxants belong to a single class of drugs, but rather they refer to a group of various drugs and each drug has its own significant effect on the body. They are available in tablet forms and also in injection form. Muscle relaxers are prescription drugs. Muscle relaxants over the counter are also available.

Uses of Muscle Relaxant Drugs

The muscle relaxant drugs are taken to take care of various pain problems:

  • Acute muscle spasms associated with sprains, stroke
  • Strains
  • Pain due to physical therapy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Other musculoskeletal conditions
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Low-back or neck pain
  • Myofascial pain syndromes
  • Leg cramps
  • Tension headaches

How do Muscle Relaxant Drugs Work?

Muscle relaxers do not act directly on the muscles. They act centrally in the brain. They are used as total body relaxants. They are divided into two groups: centrally acting and peripherally acting. The first group comprising 10 muscle relaxant drugs, which are chemically different, and they work by acting on the central nervous system and the other which act periperally comprises just one medicine, that is only dantrolene. This drug has a direct action at the level of the nerve-muscle connection.

Popular Muscle Relaxers
  • Chlorphenesin (Maolate)
  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Chlorzoxazone (Paraflex)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  • Metaxalone (Skelaxin)
  • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)
  • Orphenadrine (Norflex)

Muscle Relaxants Drugs Over The Counter

Though muscle relaxers are prescription drugs, they are also available over the counter, that is without any prescription. However, muscle relaxers whether taken through prescription or over the counter are intended to be used on a short-term basis only. These muscle relaxers can be taken to treat any kind of muscle disorder, like, pain or swelling in muscles, muscle cramps, etc. However if there is severe pain or discomfort increases, it is necessary to consult a doctor for necessary medications. Some of the popular OTC muscle relaxant drugs are:

  • Tramaden
  • Lioresal
  • Robaxin (Methocarbamol)
  • Zanaflex (Tizanidine-Oral)
  • Skelaxin (Metaxalone)
  • Tegretol (Carbamazepine)
  • Baclofen
  • Toradol (Ketorolac)
  • Celebrex (Celecoxib)
  • Imitrex
  • Methotrexate
  • Pain relief patch
  • Medrol etc.

Side Effects of Muscle Relaxant Drugs

It is to be noted that the muscle relaxant drugs help in reducing pain but they are not helpful in treating the problem and they are not effective for all kinds of pain. There are also a number of side effects associated with this medicine. The common side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, confusion, clumsiness or steadiness. In such cases the patient should avoid activities, like, driving, operating machines, etc. that require alertness. Some other mild side effects of skeletal muscle relaxants are dry mouth, cramps, nausea, constipation and diarrhea, hiccups, trembling, muscle fatigue, weakness etc.

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