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What is Cyclobenzaprine?

Cyclobenzaprine is a muscle relaxer medication. It is used to treat muscle spasms from certain musculoskeletal conditions, usually with sudden onset. It is taken orally by mouth in pill or tablet form. 

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Cyclobenzaprine is sold under the brand name Flexeril, among others.

Do not use this muscle relaxant for more than a few weeks. It has greater potential to cause adverse effects if taken for longer than this.

Side Effects of Cyclobenzaprine

There are numerous side effects associated with taking cyclobenzaprine. These effects range from common and mild to rare and life-threatening. It is also possible to overdose on cyclobenzaprine, and there are acute symptoms that accompany this. 

Common side effects of cyclobenzaprine include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Cottonmouth (dry mouth)

Less common side effects include:

  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Nervousness or excitement
  • General unwell feeling
  • Headache
  • Muscle twitching or weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Low back pain

Rare and more serious side effects of cyclobenzaprine include:

  • Unsteadiness or clumsiness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Depression
  • Tinnitus
  • Rash or hives
  • Unusual thoughts or dreams

The symptoms of cyclobenzaprine overdose can be life-threatening. It is essential to get medical help immediately if someone is experiencing any of the following: 

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Heart problems or heart attack
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Hot, flushed, or dry skin
  • Significantly elevated heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Severe difficulty breathing
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Severe nervousness or restlessness
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Is Cyclobenzaprine Addictive?

Cyclobenzaprine is generally considered non-addictive, though there is evidence that addiction may be possible. Although less of a euphoric high is produced in comparison to many other drugs, especially painkillers, people still tend to abuse cyclobenzaprine because of its relaxing effects. It is common for people to increase the prescribed dosage to experience amplified relaxation effects. 

Can You Drink Alcohol With Cyclobenzaprine?

It is not advised to drink alcohol with cyclobenzaprine as it can be dangerous and even deadly. Both substances depress the central nervous system (CNS), enhancing the depressant effects that would not surface if you took either alone. This can cause unwanted and often severe side effects that are harmful to your health. 

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Side Effects of Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol

Mixing alcohol and cyclobenzaprine can cause sedation or severe drowsiness. The risk of getting into an accident also increases while in this state. 

Combining these substances may lead to a cyclobenzaprine overdose, which can cause seizures, dangerously low blood pressure, and cardiac arrest. In some cases, extreme CNS depression leads to death.

Risks of Mixing Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol

There are many risks involved with mixing alcohol and cyclobenzaprine. The risk of overdose significantly increases when mixed with other drugs, particularly CNS depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. The risks posed by combining these substances are hazardous, as they can cause extreme sedation and respiratory depression, which could lead to death if not properly treated. 

Additionally, behavioral risks are associated with mixing alcohol and cyclobenzaprine, such as being arrested for driving under the influence. This drug combination also causes extreme drowsiness, so losing control of actions is common. 

Treatment for Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol Abuse

Treatment for cyclobenzaprine and alcohol abuse can be done at the same time or separately. However, it is usually best to treat them simultaneously. Whichever route is chosen, it should be multifaceted and tailored to each person — and done under a medical professional’s supervision. 

Physical alcohol dependence is often treated with medical detox followed by group therapy, such as a 12-step program or another form of psychological counseling. Cyclobenzaprine addiction treatment is more likely to involve a heavier component of psychological intervention. It is a less physically addictive substance than alcohol.   

Regardless of what substance is being abused, the behavioral and emotional aspects of addiction are typically best treated with: 

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Group therapies
  • Individual counseling sessions 

These therapies often work to improve coping mechanisms and overall mental health, which can lead to higher chances of a successful recovery. 

There are many treatment options available if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or cyclobenzaprine abuse. Speak to a medical or healthcare professional to find help.

Resources

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Khan I, Kahwaji CI. Cyclobenzaprine. [Updated 2020 Aug 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513362/

Messiha FS, Barnes CD. Cyclobenzaprine and ethanol interaction. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1979 Jun;10(6):947-9. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(79)90074-1. PMID: 482318.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (2021). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 2895, Cyclobenzaprine. Retrieved January 25, 2021 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Cyclobenzaprine.

Weathermon, R., & Crabb, D. W. (1999). Alcohol and medication interactions. Alcohol research & health : the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 23(1), 40–54.

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