Oxycodone and Flexeril are two prescription medications that may occasionally be prescribed together. While oxycodone is an analgesic that treats pain, Flexeril acts as a muscle relaxant. In cases where patients have suffered physical trauma or have comorbid conditions of pain and muscle spasms, their medication regimen may include both these drugs. But both drugs can have sedating effects, and thus the patient should be closely monitored for adverse drug reactions.
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As an opioid agonist, oxycodone works by activating opiate receptors within the central nervous system. As a result, pain impulses are blocked and the patient experiences analgesia. Oxycodone is available by prescription only and is heavily regulated as a controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Oxycodone can cause side effects that include constipation, nausea, sedation, drowsiness and respiratory depression.
Marketed under the brand name Flexeril, cyclobenzaprine is available in the U.S. by prescription as a generic drug. Cyclobenzaprine acts within the central nervous system to relax skeletal muscles. In contrast to oxycodone, cyclobenzaprine is not an analgesic. Cyclobenzaprine works by inhibiting motor signals that can cause muscle spasms and involuntary muscle contractions. The effects of cyclobenzaprine can also cause sedation, drowsiness and labored breathing.
Polytrauma-type injuries may necessitate the use of both types of medication. Oftentimes, physical trauma to skeletal muscle, the spinal cord and the brain can disrupt the normal function of nerve impulses, resulting in muscle spasms. In most cases, there is a pain component associated with physical trauma. In some instances, patients may be taking both types of medication for conditions that occurred independently of each other.
Although some clinical cases will dictate the use of both medications, the sedative and respiratory side effects can become compounded when using both drugs. The concurrent use of both drugs should only be done under the careful guidance of a physician. In addition, patients should avoid other substances that cause somnolence and mental inhibition, such as alcohol. Other medications patients may be using may also have sedative effects that are compounded when taken together. Patients with concerns regarding the use of oxycodone or cyclobenzaprine should consult with their physician.