What Is Cyclobenzaprine? Is It Addictive?

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Cyclobenzaprine is a prescription strength, central nervous system muscle relaxant. It is more commonly known by its brand names: Flexeril and Amrix. Cyclobenzaprine was first approved for use in 1977 and was sold in both an extended release form and an immediate release version. It is a medication that is similar to a class of antidepressant drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants. Its short-term intended use is to treat pain and/ or stiffness caused by muscle spasms. Cyclobenzaprine essentially works via the central nervous system by blocking pain sensations from reaching the brain. 

There is controversy regarding the presence of any inherently addictive qualities in cyclobenzaprine. Furthermore, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not list cyclobenzaprine as a controlled substance. Although abusing cyclobenzaprine may not elicit the same euphoric sensations as other drugs, people that do misuse it tend to do so to achieve its relaxing effects. It is not uncommon for people to continuously increase their dosage to amplify those relaxing effects, which can lead to severe consequences, including addiction. 

Side Effects of Cyclobenzaprine

There are many positive side effects that can occur as a result of taking cyclobenzaprine when medically necessary, and exactly as directed. For example, reports have indicated individuals that take cyclobenzaprine properly may experience increased energy levels, improved motor skills, and more restful sleep. As is true with any medication, there are also negative side effects that can manifest. Some possible side effects that may develop, as provided by the Mayo Clinic, can include any of the following examples:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Acid reflux
  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach paid
  • Fever
  • Urination problems
  • Nervousness 

Every individual is different and will respond distinctly when cyclobenzaprine is introduced into his or her system. The combination of side effects that may develop from cyclobenzaprine use will vary. The side effects can also range from mild to severe. The most severe side effect that can occur is a cyclobenzaprine overdose. An overdose can cause dangerous health complications including, but not limited to cardiac arrest, dangerously low blood pressure, and seizures. Individuals suffering from a cyclobenzaprine overdose may experience hallucinations, severe chest pain, rapid heartbeat, slurred speech, vomiting, drowsiness, and/ or difficulty breathing. It is important to note that the risk overdose exponentially increases when cyclobenzaprine is combined with other drugs and/ or alcohol.

Signs of Addiction

Cyclobenzaprine functions by depressing the central nervous system. When any substance, regardless of its addictive nature, is consistently reintroduced into one’s system, one’s physical body must make accommodations for functioning with it present. When a foreign substance is perpetually present in one’s system, one’s body will become unable to function optimally in its absence. Hence, chronic use of cyclobenzaprine can cause a physical dependence, and subsequently develop into an addiction. Examples of signs that may be indicative of someone struggling with an addiction to cyclobenzaprine can include any combination of the following:

  • Faking symptoms to obtain a prescription for cyclobenzaprine
  • Continuing to take cyclobenzaprine after it is no longer medically needed
  • Sudden change in appearance
  • Consistently requiring increased doses of cyclobenzaprine to elicit the same effects
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Lacks proper hygiene practices
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Habitually using cyclobenzaprine without being able to stop
  • Being preoccupied with thoughts surrounding how to satisfy one’s drug cravings
  • Combining cyclobenzaprine with other substances to produce more intense effects

An individual that abuses cyclobenzaprine is likely to experience mild withdrawal symptoms when he or she ceases to use the substance. They can include fatigue, nausea, drug cravings, and headaches. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one.

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