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Why aren't muscle relaxers an OTC drug? Are they that mind altering? Is there some other reason? I am honestly just very curious!

 

I apparently have spastic muscles that spasm very frequently. Muscle relaxers are the only thing that helps when that happens. I can't take NSAIDS and Tylenol has never releaved a pain for me. I am just curious why they are as controlled as they are. I don't find them to be mind altering, just make me a bit drowsy. But my Dr acts as if I am asking for opioids. I totally understand the issues with drug abuse as far as opioids go, I'm just curious if muscles relaxers are as big a deal.

 

On a related note, an non-prescription ideas for severe muscle spasms?

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Soak in Epsom salt and baking soda every night, stay hydrated, take up tai chi or yoga, get a good chiropractor. I know an amazing one in SW Portland. I hardly see him anymore because he's so good.

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Some types are addictive. Not as bad as opioids, but it's getting to be more problematic. Possibly because they're not as controlled and easier to obtain.

I didn't know they could be addictive. Good to know.

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Why aren't muscle relaxers an OTC drug? Are they that mind altering? Is there some other reason? I am honestly just very curious!

 

I apparently have spastic muscles that spasm very frequently. Muscle relaxers are the only thing that helps when that happens. I can't take NSAIDS and Tylenol has never releaved a pain for me. I am just curious why they are as controlled as they are. I don't find them to be mind altering, just make me a bit drowsy. But my Dr acts as if I am asking for opioids. I totally understand the issues with drug abuse as far as opioids go, I'm just curious if muscles relaxers are as big a deal.

 

On a related note, an non-prescription ideas for severe muscle spasms?

Obviously, I have no idea what type of spasms or location, so this may be way off base. I was on muscle relaxants for years. They caused quite a bit of damage...neurologically, gastric-wise and, I believe, cognitively. I finally have found relief by means of an intrathecal pump. It delivers a tiny fraction of what was needed orally via a catheter in my spine. Orders of magnitude less. This provides me with control over spasms, which means less pain as well, and without many of the issues of muscle relaxants.

Just a thought, if it ever gets to that point.

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My doctor has given me carte blanche to dose myself with muscle relaxers whenever I need it.  (I  have a problem where my muscles will clench and will not release no matter what).  But he knows that I only use them as a last resort.  For one thing, they are only a stop gap measure.  Magnesium, physical therapy and body mechanics have been much more helpful as long term solutions. 

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I am following the discussion because I had very recent experience with muscle relaxants. I was prescribed some as a combo with paracetamol (acetaminophen) when I contracted dengue fever in December. I only took a tablet twice, both times at bedtime. On both occasions I overslept through a very loud alarm clock, which I never ever do. It didn't click the first time, but when it happened again a second time it finally dawned on me! I didn't realize that they could be addictive or that they could have neurological side effects. I was prescribed them overseas and didn't seem reluctant at all. Of course I was also prescribed some paracetamol with codeine, which I didn't even take!

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You don't get addicted to medications unless you are have an addicted personality.  Those people don't have an internal braking system.  Most people do which is why most people aren't addicts of any kind.  Notice that addicts of one kind often become addicts of something else too.

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Muscle relaxers can make you drowsy, and dizzy and can affect your balance. They cannot be used in conjunction with some other medicines as well as alcohol. They should only be used for short periods of time. They are not benign.

And they can be habit forming or downright addictive too, depending on the one used. Jean is right. More than one person has used them and then cycled them with other drugs trying to counter the effects temporarily to function (especially those that contribute to drowsiness or brain fog) and created a bad cycle for themselves of dependency and substance abuse.

 

It depends on the drug and individual, but they're not to be taken lightly.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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You don't get addicted to medications unless you are have an addicted personality. Those people don't have an internal braking system. Most people do which is why most people aren't addicts of any kind. Notice that addicts of one kind often become addicts of something else too.

You know, I always thought this was the case and I do actually agree with you about addiction. But, you can use a medication as prescribed by your doctor without craving it or abusing it in any way and still become physically dependent upon it so that you will go through withdrawal when trying to discontinue it. I'm not sure if that is the case with muscle relaxers, but I know it is the case for benzodiazapines.

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You don't get addicted to medications unless you are have an addicted personality. Those people don't have an internal braking system. Most people do which is why most people aren't addicts of any kind. Notice that addicts of one kind often become addicts of something else too.

Sorry, not true. Any drug that changes your dopamine receptors and how your body responds to neuron transmitters can make a person an addict. It isn't just a matter of willpower or an internal brake. Especially with opoids that were originally meant to be used for end of life pain relief or the very worst pain and are now prescribed for anything and everything. Once they are used, they are easily abused because the brain can not activate the pleasure response without them. Pain killers, especially Opoids are very dangerous and are responsible for the increase in heroin addiction and deaths which are now hitting middle class and upper class families. Even muscle relaxers can produce a physical addiction because the body can no longer send the signal to the muscle to relax without them. Perhaps you are correct when it comes to non chemical addictions like food, sex, or gambling but comparing chemical addictions to mental "addictions" are like apples to oranges.

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You don't get addicted to medications unless you are have an addicted personality.  Those people don't have an internal braking system.  Most people do which is why most people aren't addicts of any kind.  Notice that addicts of one kind often become addicts of something else too.

 

Medically speaking, that is nonsense. 

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You don't get addicted to medications unless you are have an addicted personality. Those people don't have an internal braking system. Most people do which is why most people aren't addicts of any kind. Notice that addicts of one kind often become addicts of something else too.

Anyone can become addicted to drugs. Whether some people have a genetic or physiological or psychological propensity for addiction is a separate issue.

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Um, just want to clarify something.  EVERYONE can get a physical dependence on drugs.  The difference between dependence and addiction is whether you use the substance for emotional reasons. Not everyone will become an addict.   Or so I learned in nursing school.

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OP, I was given Flexeril at one point but it knocked me out. There's no point in pain relief if I can't function while on the medication. I tried Robaxin, which was useless and now take Skelaxin as needed. It doesn't work perfectly, but it gives me relief from the spasms while allowing me to function as normal. It's also not highly controlled. My doctor can call it in (some controlled meds require a written prescription only - my son's ADHD medicine is in that highly controlled category). Talk to your doctor about different muscle relaxers. Don't just accept the first one you've been given.

 

 

 But, you can use a medication as prescribed by your doctor without craving it or abusing it in any way and still become physically dependent upon it so that you will go through withdrawal when trying to discontinue it. 

 

 

Um, just want to clarify something.  EVERYONE can get a physical dependence on drugs.  The difference between dependence and addiction is whether you use the substance for emotional reasons. Not everyone will become an addict.   Or so I learned in nursing school.

 

Yes to both of the above. When I first started with my current pain management doctor (and I chose this practice specifically because they are not a pill mill), there was a mountain of paperwork to read and sign. One page talked about addiction vs dependence and said that you can become dependent on certain medications without being addicted to them. This generally refers to opioids but other medications fit this description as well.

 

http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/coping-279488-5.html

 

Some excerpts from the link: 

 

Can a chronic pain patient become addicted to opioid drugs?

Although most chronic pain patients who take opioids on a long-term basis will become physically dependent on them, very few will ever become addicted to them. The rare few who do develop a problem are often highly susceptible to addiction due to a genetic predisposition. In a review of 24,000 patients who were medically prescribed opioids, only seven could be found who got into trouble with them. So a chronic pain patient becoming addicted to opioid medications is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

 

Addicts vs. Pain Patients 

  • Addicts take drugs to get high and avoid life. 
  • Pain patients take drugs to function normally and get on with life. 
  • Addicts isolate themselves and become lost to their families. 
  • When pain patients get adequate relief, they become active members of their families. 
  • Addicts are unable to interact appropriately with society. 
  • When pain patients get adequate relief, they interact with and make positive contributions to society. 
  • Addicts are eventually unable to hold down a job. 
  • When pain patients get adequate relief, they are often able to go back to work. 
  • The life of an addict is a continuous downward spiral. 
  • When a pain patient gets adequate relief, their life progresses in a positive, upward direction.

Sources:

The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2001). Definitions related to the use of opioids for the treatment of pain. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from American Pain Society Web site:http://www.ampainsoc.org/advocacy/opioids2.htm

The National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction vs Dependence. Retrieved December 1, 2008 from Our Chronic Pain Mission Web site:http://www.cpmission.com/main/addiction.html

Edited by Lady Florida
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It is interesting that the same drug can have such different effects on people. I can take flexeril and stay awake and function just fine, although I won't risk driving.

Edited by UncleEJ
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