Body pain has become a menace to the modern world. One in every five adults in the USA suffers from body pain . Thus, potentially raising the prescription use of muscle relaxers in the country. A study of US physician visits states that the prescription use of skeletal muscle relaxers doubled between 2005 and 2016 . This displays a remarkable solicitude for abuse and adverse effects of long-term use.
The use of a muscle relaxer with gabapentin is a growing concern among physicians for its potential abuse magnitude and the significant impact of these interactions on the user's health.
This extensive study on "Can you take gabapentin and muscle relaxers together?" is a narrative of the safety profile and pharmacodynamic influence of mixing muscle relaxers with gabapentin.
Gabapentin and muscle relaxers: On overview
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication (used to prevent or control seizures) that is primarily prescribed for treating neuropathic pain and partial seizures. It is also the first line of treatment for neuropathic pain from central pain, diabetic neuropathy, and postherpetic neuralgia .
Off-label uses of Gabapentin:
Apart from its medical uses for neuropathic pain and focal seizures, the off-label benefits of taking Gabapentin are for treating bipolar disorder, non-neuropathic pain, and anxiety disorder.
Muscle relaxers are medications that affect skeletal muscle function and decrease muscle tone. They are commonly used for alleviating symptoms of muscle spasms and pain. They are centrally acting and help by blocking pain stimulation from reaching the brain from the affected part of the body.
Off-label uses of Muscle relaxers:
Muscle relaxers such as the Soma pill can help anxiety, neuropathic pain, temporomandibular disorder, and chronic noncancer pain.
The common muscle relaxers that physicians often prescribe are Carisoprodol (Soma pill), Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), Metaxalone (Skelaxin), Methocarbamol (Robaxin), etc.
Ask the experts: Can you take muscle relaxers with gabapentin?
Mecahism of action of Gabapentin
Gabapentin works by secreting certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. It functions by sending the chemical reactions changes between the nerve cells. The medication also helps create alternative cells in the body that works on the brain.
The elimination of Gabapentin is through renal clearance, and the elimination half-life is about 5 to 7 hours after a single oral dose of 200mg to 400mg .
Pharmacodynamic influence of Gabapentin and muscle relaxers interaction
When we talk about the Interaction of muscle relaxers with Gabapentin, it cannot be epitomized in a line or two. Several prevalent muscle relaxers in the market today have individual pharmacodynamic characteristics, thus reacting differently with Gabapentin. So, we have synopsized drug interaction of some commonly prescribed muscle relaxers with Gabapentin.
Gabapentin and Cyclobenzaprine
Mixing Cyclobenzaprine with Gabapentin may increase the risk of side effects such as confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Elderly people may experience impairment in judgment, motor coordination, and thinking.
People taking Gabapentin with Cyclobenzaprine must avoid activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating heavy machinery and driving .
Carisoprodol and Gabapentin
Taking Carisoprodol with Gabapentin may increase the possibility of side effects such as drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and dizziness. Such people must also limit their alcohol consumption while taking these medications.
Older people are more likely to suffer from thinking and judgment impairments. Such patients must be monitored for prolonged CNS and respiratory depression .
Xanax and Gabapentin
Mixing Xanax and Gabapentin can increase CNS and respiratory depression in patients. It also causes drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, unusual eye movement, jerky movements, difficulty speaking, nausea, and palpitation. Avoiding activities such as driving and operating heavy machinery is advisable as such interactions lower mental alertness.
Gabapentin With Opioids
Gabapentin is a CNS depressant known to slow down some of the processes and functions of the brain. On the other hand, opioid pain medications are also classified as CNS depressants. Therefore, taking opioid analgesics with Gabapentin may increase the risk of abuse, sedation, and respiratory depression. Some opioid pain medications that should not be taken with Gabapentin are Tapenatdol, Tramadol, oxycodone, and hydrocodone .
With OTC Medications
Administration of OTC medicines with Gabapentin for pain and allergy relief is considered safe. However, such practices should not be done without consulting a doctor. It is critical to be cautious while taking OTC medications such as Unisom and Benadryl, which may cause drowsiness in users.
Why do people take muscle relaxers with Gabapentin?
Combining Gabapentin with muscle relaxer for abuse is not common, but it does exist. Both these compounds work on the CNS, thus helping to slow down the brain’s reaction to any form of stimulation.
The significant factors contributing toward people taking muscle relaxers with Gabapentin are-
For better and faster relief from body pain
The other key factors responsible for such interactions are-
Ease and availability of muscle relaxers and other medication online without prescription.
The low price of the Soma pill makes Carisoprodol a common choice for abuse.
Lack of awareness.
What muscle relaxers can you take with gabapentin?
Using any form of muscle relaxer is not safe or advisable with Gabapentin. However, people with severe body pain can combine other pain medications.
Analgesics such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, and aspirin are assumed to be safe with no severe interactions or possibility of side effects .
Our final take on “Can you take muscle relaxer with gabapentin?”
Now that we have meticulously discussed the outcome of mixing muscle relaxers with Gabapentin, let us have a brief rundown.
Inactive lifestyles and millennials' love for technology is causing many to suffer from body pain. Research estimates that approximately 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain . Taken aback, aren't you?
To deal with severe acute and chronic pain, most people take muscle relaxers such as Soma with Gabapentin for faster relief from pain. And other times, it is mainly done for the pure sense of abuse. Irrespective of the factor contributing to such interactions, the intake of muscle relaxers with Gabapentin is unsafe and is not recommended by most physicians.
Health Hazards of Gabapentin and muscle relaxers interaction in a nutshell-
Drowsiness- slows down the thinking capacity, thus making a person feel sleepy all day.
Depression- Gabapentin and muscle relaxer interactions may cause depression and suicidal thoughts.
Allergy- It may cause allergic reactions such as itching, rash, and trouble breathing.
Breathing Problems: People taking Gabapentin with opioids may experience breathing problems, making a person sleepy and dizzy.
Senior citizen: For people older, administration of Gabapentin and muscle relaxers can affect motor coordination, including thinking and judgment impairments.