Overview Of Carisoprodol (Soma)

September 21, 2023

Carisoprodol, a prescription muscle relaxant, is often sold under the brand name Soma. It is a controlled medication and is only prescribed for short-term use. Typically, patients receive it for a maximum of three weeks. Some evidence indicates that it has serious side effects when used for long periods. These effects include withdrawal symptoms when individuals stop taking the medication, especially if they do so improperly.

Patients often take these muscle relaxant pills for muscle injuries. It can help with achieving muscle pain relief in the back and neck. Individuals may also use this medication as a sprained ankle treatment. Certain doctors prescribe it as a way to achieve short-term pain relief for back spasms as well. However, it is vital to understand carisoprodol and how it works before taking it to treat any condition.

How It Works

Carisoprodol is an oral muscle relaxant. It is not an injection or topical medication. Although researchers have documented the effects of carisoprodol, they have not established precisely why these effects occur. The best understanding is that this medication stops the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. Even if the nerves are flaring up with pain, the brain cannot interpret the pain signals if they never reach it. Other researchers believe that the medication alters the way the pain-controlling nerves in the brain work. Carisoprodol might work in the spinal cord as well. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for use in 1959. However, carisoprodol is a habit-forming medication, and thus, it is a controlled substance.

Continue reading to discover the uses and benefits linked to this medication next.

Uses And Benefits

Carisoprodol is prescribed to treat musculoskeletal injuries and pain, such as strains and sprains. Patients usually use it in conjunction with a physical therapy regimen and rest to help the injury heal. Since most injuries heal within a few weeks, there is no need to keep taking the medication for long periods. It is prescribed for short-term relief only, typically for acute pain from an injury. Carisoprodol helps the muscles surrounding an injury relax. This can speed the healing process as the body knits itself back together.

Most patients will take it three times per day: in the morning, afternoon, and before bed. The medicine can be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Sometimes, a doctor may temporarily prescribe the medication to help with other acute pain, such as for a broken bone. However, the prescriber must only use it on a short-term basis.

Reveal the potential side effects of this medication next.

Potential Side Effects

Similar to many muscle relaxants, carisoprodol may cause drowsiness, lethargy, and dizziness. Some patients also have digestive symptoms like nausea, vomiting, gas, and an upset stomach. It is also common for individuals taking this medication to experience mood-related changes such as depression, irritability, nervousness, and agitation. An inability to sleep might occur, and headaches and blurred vision are also common. Many patients report having hiccups after taking carisoprodol, even when they have not done anything that would cause them.

The potential dependence is why the medication is not prescribed for more than a few weeks at a time. Withdrawal symptoms are well documented in patients who have taken carisoprodol for long periods. There also are not enough studies on this medication's effects on pregnant women. However, it does accumulate in breast milk when women are nursing.

Get information on precautions associated with this medication next.

Precautions To Remember

Patients should not take carisoprodol for more than three weeks at a time. In addition, this is not an appropriate medication for chronic pain. Individuals who have used this medicine for long periods need to withdraw under a doctor's supervision rather than quitting suddenly, as the effects of withdrawal can be dangerous. Carisoprodol interacts with other substances and medications that relax the muscles and slow the nervous system, including alcohol. Pregnant mothers should not take this medication, as there have not been studies proving that it is safe to do so. Nursing mothers should also be cautious, as carisoprodol can end up in high concentrations in their breast milk.

Patients also need to make sure that they follow all of their doctor's dosing instructions. They need to take this medication at the prescribed time intervals. It is vital that they do not skip doses or take extra doses.

Reveal the potential medication interactions next.

Potential Medication Interactions

Carisoprodol interacts with any other medication that slows an individual's nervous system. This includes medications for anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, as well as barbiturates and alcohol. Two examples of benzodiazepines that interact with this medication are lorazepam and clonazepam. These drugs may also be prescribed as muscle relaxants. Opioids and other narcotics can also interact with carisoprodol. If too much of a substance is taken, drowsiness and the other effects might become dangerous.

Fluvoxamine and omeprazole prevent the body from eliminating carisoprodol properly. This causes more side effects and a higher risk of dependence. On the other hand, rifampin causes the body to eliminate this medication at higher rates, which prevents it from being as effective. St. John's Wort is a common supplement that also causes higher levels of medication elimination. Patients should always talk to their doctor about their lifestyle and other medications before taking carisoprodol.

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