How to Prevent Constipation While Taking Cyclobenzaprine

Tablets in plastic packing
Many pain relievers or prescription drugs can cause constipation. (Image: Garsya/iStock/Getty Images)

Cyclobenzaprine, the generic name for the drug Flexeril, is a prescription muscle relaxant and pain reliever. According to Drugs.com, it acts by blocking pain sensations that are sent to the brain. It is typically used with rest and physical therapy to treat muscle conditions and pain. Constipation may be a side effect of this drug for some people, as many pain relievers are, but you can take some steps to keep this from occurring. Talk with your doctor if you have persistent constipation.

Step 1

Take a psyllium capsule or psyllium fiber product such as Metamucil. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that psyllium is a soluble fiber that has a laxative effect. Follow the instructions on the package and check with your doctor before using it to make sure it is safe for you to consume.

Step 2

Participate in some sort of physical activity, if your doctors and physical therapists say it is safe to do so. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse explains that a lack of physical activity contributes to constipation, although the reasons are not known. Ask your doctor what activities are safe to do while on cyclobenzaprine that will not cause you additional pain.

Step 3

Eat foods rich in insoluble fiber. Although you may not have much of an appetite when you are in pain or taking pain medicine, it is important to maintain a healthy diet to promote normal bowel function. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of food through your digestive system and bulks up stool, states MayoClinic.com. This lessens constipation. Dietary sources of insoluble fiber include nuts, vegetables, wheat bran and whole-wheat flour products.

Step 4

Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. You may be sleeping a lot due to the pain or the medication, but it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration can contribute to constipation; drink fruit and vegetable juices, water and clear soups to prevent this, recommends the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Tip

Ask your doctor whether there are any other muscle relaxants or pain relievers that may not cause constipation, if cyclobenzaprine causes you significant problems. She may be able to recommend another drug that may work better for you.

Warning

Do not take laxatives over a long period of time; this can create dependence and cause more constipation, says the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Talk to your doctor about any bowel trouble you have while taking cyclobenzaprine; your dosage may need to be reduced, or your dosing schedule may be changed to treat your constipation. Do not stop taking your medication without first talking with your physician.

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