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Skeletal Muscle Relaxers

Types of Muscle Relaxers Used to Address Spasms


Updated June 02, 2014

Muscles tend to seize up after an injury (called a muscle spasm). Spasms can get painful and may limit your activities. Sometimes skeletal muscle relaxants are prescribed in conjunction with physical therapy and rest to ease tension and help you make progress with exercises. Research comparing the different types of muscle relaxers shows that for the most part, they all work equally. So deciding on which one is about anticipating side effects and drug interactions and considering your preferences. All skeletal muscle relaxers cause drowsiness and dizziness, so don't drive when you take them.

1. Skelaxin, the Brand Name for Metaxalone

Skelaxin is only available in brand form. It is tolerated well by most people. But as with any medication, it is important to tell your doctor your complete medical history, and everything you are taking, including supplements. Because metaxalone is meant for acute injuries, it should not be taken longer than 3 weeks. As with the other types of muscle relaxers, skelaxin causes dizziness and drowsiness. Therefore, driving, doing vigorous activity or operating heavy machinery should not be done when you take skelaxin.

2. Carisoprodol - Soma, Rela and Vanadom

Carisoprodol is available generically, and also comes in 3 brands:

  • Soma
  • Rela
  • Vanadom

Carisoprodol is very similar to Skelaxin. Remember is is crucial to talk to your doctor about which medication will be best for you -- give him your complete history including all medications and supplements you are currently taking. For more information about carisoprodol, visit the Drug Finder


3. Cyclobenzaprine, or Flexeril

Cyclobenzaprine is available as Flexeril, and also in generic form. Like the other types of muscle relaxers, Flexeril may cause dizziness or drowsiness, so you shouldn't drive, lift heavy objects or do vigorous exercise while under its influence.

Most of the research on muscle relaxants have been done on cyclobenzaprine. Comparisons of the various types have not shown any one of them to be superior to the others. Therefore, as with skelaxin and carisoprodol, your doctor's decision to prescribe Flexeril for you may be based on the anticipated side effects, your preference and potential drug interactions.

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