Soma is a prescription, brand-name medication also sold under the generic name carisoprodol. It is prescribed for short-term use for the treatment of muscle spasms and pain associated with injury. It is also considered to be a drug of abuse and may be addictive. Soma may cause side effects, including some metabolic problems, particularly if it is taken for long periods. As with all medications, talk to your doctor about all of your medical symptoms, other medicines you may be taking and any side effects that you may experience.
Changes in the Liver
Soma is metabolized in the liver using the CYP2C19 enzyme to form meprobamate, which is the active portion. Other medications also use this enzyme for metabolism. Taking medications that induce the enzyme such as omeprazole, an acid-reducer, or fluvoxamine, an anti-depressant, could increase the sedation effects of the metabolite, meprobamate. Taking medications or supplements that inhibit this enzyme, such as rifampin, an anti-biotic, or St. Johns wort could decrease the sedation effects of Soma. Some people taking low-dose aspirin have also experienced a lowered effectiveness of Soma. Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking and whether you plan to start or stop taking a medication.
Changes in the Brain
Soma is considered to be a muscle relaxant, but it does its work in the brain and spinal cord. It works on the nerves in the spinal column to stop messages from the nerves to the muscles, causing fewer muscle contractions. Soma is also metabolized to meprobamate, which is a central nervous system, or CNS, depressant and anticonvulsant. This metabolite stops the brain from sending signals to the muscle. Long-term use of Soma can cause addiction to the sedative effects. Stopping Soma after long-term use may cause CNS side effects such as anxiety, headache, insomnia and muscle tremors. Soma should not be taken with other CNS depressants or with alcohol due to additive effects. Tell your doctor if you experience excessive sedation or symptoms of withdrawal.
Taking Soma may cause metabolic changes, including weight changes, both increased weight and lost weight for some people. Soma is considered to be a sedative and may cause drowsiness and dizziness. If you are taking Soma due to an injury or if you experience sedative effects such as drowsiness or dizziness, your physical activity may drop, causing weight gain because you are not burning as many calories as normal. In rare cases, Soma may also cause fluid retention, which should be reported to a physician immediately
Other people taking Soma may lose weight because the medication may cause nausea, vomiting and stomach upset, limiting your ability to eat. The sedative effects may also make you too tired to eat if you take too much. If you have taken Soma for a long time, discontinuing the medication will also cause stomach upset and nausea, possibly contributing to weight loss. Tell your doctor if you suddenly experience any weight changes.