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Cyclobenzaprine is a muscle relaxant used to treat back pain. It is often prescribed in conjunction with physical therapy, massage therapy and plenty of rest.

Cyclobenzaprine relaxes muscles by stopping pain impulses from reaching the central nervous system. While this drug is most commonly prescribed for fibromyalgia relief, it can also treat several other back pain conditions.

Conditions Treated by Cyclobenzaprine

While cyclobenzaprine can be used to treat a variety of pain conditions, it is most commonly used for fibromyalgia sufferers, as it can be used to treat the whole body. Other treated conditions include:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia

While cyclobenzaprine is an effective treatment that may get rid of fibromyalgia and all of its related symptoms, it only treats certain symptoms of other conditions. For instance, while it treats acute muscle spasms related to stress or overwork, it does not treat muscle spasticity due to conditions like cerebral palsy, which have other underlying causes.

Side Effects

Common cyclobenzaprine side effects include:

  • Fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Appetite change and weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Impaired vision
  • Change in skin/eye color
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin rash
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Seizure

Contact a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these harmful side effects.

Additionally, you should not take cyclobenzaprine if you are currently taking an antidepressant. You should avoid alcohol or narcotics while taking this medication.

Finally, cyclobenzaprine may cause you to develop a dependency or addiction. While the risk of addiction is not as great as with opioid type pain medications, it is still something to keep in mind. If you believe you are addicted, seek medical attention.

Overdose and Dosage

Because cyclobenzaprine is a strong pain medication with the potential to develop dependence and tolerance, you should be careful not to overdose. If you experience these or other overdose symptoms, contact a hospital as soon as possible:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Speech impairment
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Erratic or rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures

You must have a doctor’s prescription to get cyclobenzaprine, which is usually prescribed in tablet form. The tablet can be taken up to three times per day, 8 hours apart. You may also opt to receive a long-acting capsule form of the medication, which is taken once per day.

Any cyclobenzaprine dosage must be accompanied by lifestyle changes and/or physical therapy to fully heal. Your doctor will normally prescribe cyclobenzaprine for up to three weeks at a time. If your pain still persists, you may need to explore other options for treatment.

How to Decide if Cyclobenzaprine is Right for You

Speak with your doctor if you believe that over-the-counter pain medication is not treating your condition. Particularly if you have fibromyalgia, your doctor may wish to start you on a treatment program that includes cyclobenzaprine. Consult with a physician before beginning any pain drug regimen to see if the medication is right for you.