The DEA found that nearly 25 million prescriptions were given out for cyclobenzaprine, the active ingredient in Flexeril. As a muscle relaxant, it is often used for back pain. Flexeril is believed to be much less addictive than other pain killers.
The technical name of the active compound in Flexeril is cyclobenzaprine which can be found in a variety of different products. The Flexeril dosage comes in Flexeril 5 mg and Flexeril 10 mg tablets. Fexmid is a brand name tablet that comes in a 7.5 mg tablet. There are also generic Flexeril and Fexmid options. Amrix is an extended-release capsule that can be taken once daily in a 15 mg – 30 mg dose.
Flexeril can also be used for disorders like muscular dystrophy. It controls the spasms and prevents muscle damage. Cyclobenzaprine specifically relieves muscle spasms originating in the muscle itself. This is in comparison to drugs that inhibit pain in the nerves that control the muscles.
When a patient sustains an injury, muscle spasms may occur. Cyclobenzaprine is used to decrease pain in the first 14 days. It will peak in the first few days but show no benefits after two weeks. Since there’s no benefit, there’s no use in keeping patients on Flexeril long-term.
The DEA states that Flexeril is similar to tricyclic antidepressants which can be abused. There is a risk of abuse due to the potential of a Flexeril high. Perhaps the concern too is that it’s been so widely prescribed. This too increases the risk of Flexeril abuse.
Is Flexeril a Narcotic?
Given the symptoms of a cyclobenzaprine high, you may be tempted to ask the question, “is Flexeril an opioid or is cyclobenzaprine a muscle relaxer of a different sort?”
And the question isn’t an uncommon one. Many people believe that Flexeril is a narcotic similar to other painkillers like OxyContin, Fentanyl, or Vicodin based on how it makes you feel alone.
However, the truth is cyclobenzaprine belongs to a separate class of chemicals known as muscle relaxant. Rather than activating opioid receptors like other prescription painkillers, Flexeril instead blocks certain nerve impulses that are sent to the brain.
Just because cyclobenzaprine isn’t an opioid though doesn’t mean it hasn’t become a substance of abuse.
How Do People Abuse Flexeril?
Can Flexeril make you high? It’s not as intense as other prescription pain killers but there is still the potential for an altered state. Flexeril abuse can lead to the user feeling sedated and relaxed. There is the possibility of a euphoric cyclobenzaprine high as well. Flexeril is not a narcotic but it can become quite dangerous when abused or mixed with other drugs.
It can easily be dissolved in alcohol or crushed and snorted, making the Flexeril high much more intense. Cyclobenzaprine isn’t widely abused, though the high potential is there. When used for illicit purposes, the street names include, “cyclone” or “mellow yellow.
Recreational Flexeril doses will be more like 20-80 mg. A prescription Flexeril generic dose is 5mg – 10 mg at one time. Primary effects when taking cyclobenzaprine recreationally include drowsiness and a feeling of relaxation. The Flexeril high can include a pleasurable feeling of muscle relaxation and a feeling of floating as well.
The DEA has found that most people abusing Flexeril do so by mixing it with illegal or prescription drugs. This is because cyclobenzaprine enhances effects of other CNS depressants such as:
- Opioid pain killers
Risk of Abusing Flexeril
The DEA has stated there really is no risk when it comes to Flexeril. This is based on what the FDA approved the drug for. In fact, the DEA has not officially listed cyclobenzaprine as a controlled substance at all. However, when abusing Flexeril recreationally, it does become a greater risk to the user.
In the first place, Flexeril abuse can end up causing an overdose, the effects of which can be incredibly dangerous. Dangerous fluctuations in body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and even convulsions are all possible from too much cyclobenzaprine recreational use.
Flexeril recreational use can also end up leading to the development of physical dependency. This is marked by a need to use cyclobenzaprine regularly in order to simply function.
And when this dependency gets out of hand, Flexeril addiction is possible, which can have long-term implications and health effects that can end up tearing apart your life as you know it.
These two dangerous consequences of Flexeril abuse are exacerbated by the fact that mixing drugs with cyclobenzaprine can make Flexeril addictive and deadly on a whole new level.
Taking Flexeril with MAOs puts a person at high risk of a dangerous medical condition. Serotonin Syndrome is life threatening. It can occur when Tetracyclic Compounds and MAOIs both raise the level of serotonin too high in the body. It can cause changes in blood pressure, body temperature and lead to a change in behavior.
To add to the risk of overdose, addiction, and mixing substances along with cyclobenzaprine recreational use, patients can also be extremely allergic to Flexeril which can cause the body to react quickly.
If a person has an overactive thyroid, heart issues or problems with the liver, Flexeril can be risky and should not be taken.
Risks of Combining Flexeril and Alcohol
The combination of Flexeril and alcohol can cause serious problems in the central nervous system, the consequences of which may end up being fatal.
The problem with combining Flexeril and alcohol comes from the fact that both of these drugs are actually central nervous system (CNS) depressants. That means that both Flexeril and alcohol have a tendency to slow down the body’s natural processes.
One of the most important bodily processes that these two drugs can end up impacting is respiration. When used alone, alcohol can end up slowing respiration to deadly levels due to alcohol poisoning. Flexeril abuse can also end up leading to dangerously slow respiration.
When Flexeril and alcohol are mixed, however, these qualities can actually end up overlapping, making the potentially fatal risk of low respiration even more likely to occur.
The alcohol also increases the side effects of cyclobenzaprine. This includes the dizziness, difficulty thinking, and drowsiness. As a result, they may be more likely to physically hurt themselves while abusing cyclobenzaprine and alcohol. It’s not advised that a person drink alcohol at all while they’re being treated with Flexeril.
People that combine Flexeril and alcohol also may not think properly and are more susceptible to making bad choices. This can cause risk to the user. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated, walking through a bad part of town, and other risks to physical harm may end up being more likely when abusing Flexeril and alcohol.
There have been a number of fatalities reported as a result of the Flexeril and alcohol combination that occurred from physical harm caused by over-intoxication.
A Flexeril overdose is possible. Common effects include drowsiness and an increase in the heart rate.
Less common effects include:
- Tremors or seizures
- Falling into a coma
- Slurred speech
- Nausea leading to vomiting
- Severe Nervousness
- Muscle stiffness
- Trouble with breathing
Rarely, a Flexeril overdose can in fact cause life-threatening symptoms. These rare side effects from too intense of a cyclobenzaprine high include:
- Cardiac arrest
- Chest pain
- Cardiac dysrhythmias
- Severe hypotension
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Usually people won’t die from a cyclobenzaprine overdose. There are over 12,000 people in the U.S who will go to the emergency room looking to be treated for Flexeril overdose. A study showed that 209 people who overdosed on Flexeril on its own survived the ordeal. Mixing the drug with other substances however, has shown to cause accidents leading to death.
Flexeril is not a narcotic and will usually not show up on a basic 5 panel drug screen. If the drug screen is testing for TCA’s, Flexeril may show up. This is because cyclobenzaprine has a chemical structure like tricyclic antidepressant. However, a test for TCA isn’t that common.
The 5 panel test is the general test used by employers and doctors. It includes meth, opiate, THC, Benzodiazepine, and cocaine.
Cyclobenzaprine does show up in urine tests. It has a half-life of 18 hours so it will stay in the body for about 90 hours. This means it will show up on drug tests for nearly 4 days. If a person has liver or kidney problems, the drug may remain in the body for longer. This is because the liver will take longer to process the drug through.
It’s important that someone on Flexeril let the test administrator know they’re taking Flexeril. This is because it can give false positives on other narcotic substances. For instance, a person may be seen as using cocaine when they’re not.
If cyclobenzaprine is taken for the 14 days that is advised, there is very little risk of Flexeril addiction. When it’s abused or taken for prolonged periods, however, it can easily lead to addiction.
Flexeril is considered to be a drug with abuse potential with addictive qualities. Flexeril isn’t classified by the DEA as a controlled substance, even though the drug can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. As a result, the DEA doesn’t consider cyclobenzaprine abuse a high priority.
The qualities of developing a Flexeril addiction are there, the high just isn’t rewarding enough when used on its own. If addicts can use a stronger drug, they would choose it over Flexeril.
The dependence on cyclobenzaprine is proven by the withdrawal symptoms that occur once the medication leaves the bloodstream. Symptoms of Flexeril withdrawal include:
- Fatigue and a general malaise.
There is also the possibility of becoming psychologically dependent to Flexeril because of the feelings of relaxation. Flexeril on its own may not be as susceptible to creating addiction but when it’s abused, there’s a much greater risk. And when cyclobenzaprine and alcohol, opioids, or drugs are used in combination, that risk becomes even higher.
People will abuse cyclobenzaprine to enhance effects of alcohol or mind-altering drugs. As a result, the cyclobenzaprine high can actually end up leading to the development of addictions to other drugs as well.
One of the risks of Flexeril withdrawal include Flexeril discontinuation syndrome. People who abuse Flexeril for years and in large amounts may develop the syndrome. The withdrawal syndrome with Flexeril is similar to when people try to stop using tricyclic antidepressants.
- Flu like symptoms.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Muscle aches.
This is often why people will be admitted into an addiction treatment clinic for Flexeril withdrawal. During cyclobenzaprine addiction treatment, the medication will be slowly tapered off by a reduction of amounts over a certain time frame. This can help patients avoid the discomfort of withdrawing from cyclobenzaprine.
Flexeril Can Be Abused but the High Isn’t Worth the Risk
Flexeril is not a narcotic. It’s not considered a dangerous method of getting rid of specific muscular pain. It is given to patients who are more likely to abuse opiate pain killers and is considered less risky for abuse and addiction.
While it can be abused if it’s mismanaged, it really isn’t worth the health risks the high offers. Regardless of the slight high it gives to users, there is also the potential of becoming dependent on it. The slight relaxing feeling can become something that becomes a normal part of their everyday experience.
When a patient becomes physically dependent on Flexeril, they’re often at a much higher risk of developing a cyclobenzaprine addiction further down the line. This addiction is marked by compulsive drug seeking behaviors, even when the negative effects of these behaviors are fully recognized.
Flexeril Addiction Treatment
This is a drug that isn’t usually considered one of the more common drugs people need to recover from. However, overcoming any addiction can be an incredibly trying process.
So, please don’t discount the need for professional treatment if you’re addicted to Flexeril. If you attempt to quit using it on your own, you put yourself at risk for an overdose. This could end up having deadly consequences.
The Risk of Overdosing
If you quit Flexeril and then go back to using, your body may not be ready for a high dose of cyclobenzaprine. This is called accidental overdose and it’s the main reason why people overdose. You could experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling confused
- Slurred speech
Sometimes people will even have a heart attack or develop seizures. Both can occur when you overdose on Flexeril. In order to quit safely, you need to opt for professional Flexeril rehab.
Getting treated for your Flexeril addiction professional has so many benefits. For one, you are able to learn from people who understand how this type of addiction works. You also get to gain insight into what caused it to occur for you in the first place. It could have happened for a number of reasons. Maybe you were depressed or anxious and Flexeril offered you a way to feel calm. No matter what the reason is, understanding it is critical because then, the cause can be treated.
If you believe you’re addicted to Flexeril, please don’t put off getting help. It’s important to talk with an addiction treatment specialist as soon as you can. That way, you can find out for sure if what you’re dealing with is an actual addiction. If it is, you can begin to take the necessary steps that you’ll need to recover.
At Northpoint Recovery, we know that there are challenges when recovering from an addiction. We’re committed to sticking by your side throughout the entire process.
Do you have questions about Flexeril addiction or about how you can get treated? We’re here to help you find the answers you need. Please contact us right away.