Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol: Why They Don’t Mix


Muscle relaxants are not typically recommended as a first-line defense for certain concerns, such as low-back pain, due to their potential for misuse and because of their side effects. These medications are generally prescribed for short-term use to to their potential for misuse, use, and dependence. Muscle relaxants are prescription medications used to relax muscles, providing relief from sprains, strains, or other injuries to the muscles. Muscle relaxants produce their effect by depressing the CNS, producing sedation and a relaxing of the skeletal muscles. You should have regular appointments with your healthcare provider when taking a muscle relaxant to assess how well it’s working.

  1. This can occur as a means to self-medicate with substances or to simply induce “high” feelings.
  2. When cyclobenzaprine and alcohol are abused together, it is called polydrug use.
  3. This means that the side effects of muscle relaxers, such as drowsiness or dizziness, can be intensified when you drink alcohol.
  4. However, this medicine does not take the place of rest, exercise or physical therapy, or other treatment that your doctor may recommend for your medical problem.
  5. As a muscle relaxant, this medication may affect your ability to perform certain activities.
  6. There are many prescription and over-the-counter medications available that can provide relief for muscle spasms and muscle spasticity.

If you have neck or back pain, or you’re dealing with some other condition that causes muscle spasms, your doctor might prescribe a muscle relaxer (or muscle relaxant) for you. Chemical dependence occurs when you stop taking the drug and/or alcohol abruptly and experience withdrawal symptoms. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that dependence can happen with chronic use of any drug, even when they are taken as prescribed.

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This interference with our neurotransmitters can increase anxiety, often for the entire day after drinking. This can lead to wanting a drink the next evening to wind down, causing the entire cycle to start over again. Very often cutting out alcohol can lead to a significant decrease in your overall anxiety.

In addition, there is a risk of developing a dependency on carisoprodol. Antispastics directly affect the spinal cord or the skeletal muscles with the aim of improving muscle tightness and spasms. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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Side effects can include drowsiness, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue. These medications make it hard to think and function normally, even if you take a low dose, so combining them with alcohol can increase your risk of an accident.

The Dangers Of Combining Alcohol And Muscle Relaxants

This can make it difficult to stay awake and alert, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. The combination of these substances can also lead to excessive drowsiness, making it dangerous to perform tasks that require concentration, such as driving or operating machinery. Muscle relaxers can be classified into different categories based on their mechanism of action. Some common types include benzodiazepines, such as diazepam and lorazepam, and non-benzodiazepines, such as cyclobenzaprine and methocarbamol.

Centrally acting SMRs are used in addition to rest and physical therapy to help relieve muscle spasms. They’re thought to work by causing a sedative effect or by preventing your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. Antispasmodics are used to treat muscle spasms, and antispastics are used to treat muscle spasticity. Some antispasmodics, such as tizanidine, can be used to treat muscle spasticity. Our writers and reviewers are experienced professionals in medicine, addiction treatment, and healthcare. AddictionResource fact-checks all the information before publishing and uses only credible and trusted sources when citing any medical data.

Why Do People Combine Alcohol And Muscle Relaxants?

Muscle relaxers should not be paired with alcohol or other medications that can lead to drowsiness such as antihistamines or sedatives. Ria Health combines prescription medication, recovery coaching, and digital tracking tools to create custom plans for each member’s needs. The program is covered by many insurance plans, and can be done 100 percent from your smartphone how to choose a sober house for your recovery sober living or personal device. At North Jersey Recovery Center, we strive to make your addiction treatment experience as comfortable as possible. The ritual of signifying the end of the day by sitting down with a drink is hard to give up unless we have an enticing alternative. Identify when you will most want a drink, and think about what you could do instead.

Abusing either of these drugs places an individual at risk of addiction. People take it to help manage spasticity from MS or spinal cord injuries. The side effects of IV dantrolene include breathing changes identification of optimal therapeutic window for steroid use in severe alcohol that occur due to weakness in the respiratory muscles and muscle weakness. A 2017 review couldn’t draw concrete conclusions about the effectiveness of baclofen in treating alcohol withdrawal.

What Is Baclofen?

In summary, baclofen is not yet considered a first-line medication for alcohol use disorder, but it is an effective solution for some people. If you are not reacting well to other medications for alcoholism, or if they aren’t helping, baclofen may be the right solution for you. The idea of a drinking break is to diminish drinking’s importance in your life.

Prolonged use can lead to increased tolerance and physical dependence. But providers usually only prescribe them for brief periods due to the addiction potential of certain types. Spasticity is a disruption in muscle movement patterns that causes certain muscles to a brief history of alcoholism contract all at once when you try to move or even at rest. It’s usually caused by damage to nerve pathways within your brain or spinal cord that control movement and stretch reflexes. Alcohol isn’t the only thing to steer clear of while taking muscle relaxers.

Although the many uses of muscle relaxers help in improving the daily lives of patients, users of these drugs should know their dangers as well. Muscle relaxers may be prescribed for a variety of conditions, including back pain and injury. However, before taking a muscle relaxant, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider about the risks and side effects. Although antispastics and antispasmodics are both types of skeletal muscle relaxants, they have specific and different uses. In addition, some of these medications treat conditions not related to muscle function.

Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. This will depend on your individual needs, as some types can form a dependence. Always discuss the benefits and risks of a muscle relaxer with your prescribing doctor and be sure to follow any instructions with care. You should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medications for the treatment of your muscle spasms.

The most common treatment (and the one most likely to be covered by insurance) is 28 days at an inpatient or residential rehab facility. If you or a loved one is taking muscle relaxers without a prescription, reach out to a doctor to discuss the reasons why. If needed, they can help you get a proper diagnosis for mental health disorders so that you or your loved one can find the safest medication that works best. Trying to use the sedative properties of muscle relaxers to calm your body and help you sleep could lead to accidental death.

This is why drinking grapefruit juice while on certain prescriptions is not advised. None of the above suggestions replace treatment or a twelve-step program. If you experience strong resistance to any of the above steps, it’s worth getting curious about the role of alcohol in your life, and whether this is how you want to live. There shouldn’t be shame or stigma about wanting to slow down or stop drinking because needing to do so isn’t the exception; it’s the rule. The importance of quality sleep in all mental health issues, and overall well-being, cannot be overstated.

Call emergency for help if you have problems breathing or unusual sleepiness. Therefore, more research is needed to understand whether cannabis or the compounds it contains could help ease muscle spasms or muscle spasticity. In particular, a variant of the GABA receptor called the GABA-B receptor has been investigated as a “druggable” target for alcohol use disorder. The drug tested in the newly reported trial, baclofen, is a selective activator of the GABA-B receptor.