Anyone who has ever pulled a back muscle or who suffers from conditions such as multiple sclerosis can tell you how painful muscle spasms can be. A tightened muscle can be debilitating, causing a person to cringe with the unbearable pain that accompanies it; this is when muscle relaxants are needed.
Several types of muscle relaxants exist to help relieve the short-term pain caused by certain injuries, while others exist to help relieve the symptoms of various chronic conditions. Though effective, many of these relaxants have serious side effects and health interactions that could have life-threatening repercussions.
Known generically as metaxalone, this drug helps relax muscles by blocking the pain sensations in the brain. It is prescribed for those who suffer from muscle strains and sprains as well as musculoskeletal conditions such as bursitis and scoliosis.
This medication should be taken exactly as prescribed as excess doses can be fatal. Possible side effects of Skelaxin include loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of skin or whites of eyes) and dark urine. You may also suffer from irritability, drowsiness or headaches. If you suffer from kidney or liver disease or you are anemic, you should not take Skelaxin as it may worsen your condition.
Generically known as cyclobenzaprine, Flexeril also works by blocking pain sensations sent to the brain. This also needs to be taken exactly as prescribed, as larger doses can be fatal.
There are a number of side effects that may accompany Flexeril, some of which are muscle weakness, blurred vision, drowsiness and loss of appetite. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience chest pain, numbness, confusion or seizures. It may also affect your reaction time and your ability to think clearly. Therefore, use caution when driving or using heavy machinery. In addition, you should not take Flexeril if you have used an MAO inhibitor within the last 14 days as it can have life-threatening repercussions.
Available generically as tizanidine, Zanaflex is considered a short-acting muscle relaxant that is used to treat muscle spasms, cramping and muscle tightness commonly caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spastic dysplagia. Because it only provides short-term relief, it should only be taken when daily activities will result in muscle spasticity.
According to the website Drugs, you should not exceed three 36-mg doses in a 24-hour period as too much of this medication can result in liver damage. The most common side effects include fever, dry mouth, anxiety, drowsiness, muscle weakness and development of a skin rash. Serious side effects include feeling faint, a slow heart rate, confusion, hallucinations and burning during urination. These require immediate medical attention.