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Metaxalone is a powerful muscle relaxant medication that is chemically categorized as an oxazolidinone derivative. Available in tablet form, it is usually taken three or four times per day with food; a typical course of treatment lasts three to four weeks. Along with its muscle relaxant properties, metaxalone also reduces pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders. While the drug’s exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, it is believed that metaxalone produces these beneficial results by suppressing the function of the central nervous system. Metaxalone has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of muscle spasms to provide significant pain relief for patients suffering from a variety of back and spinal column disorders.

Uses for Metaxalone

Metaxalone is typically used to reduce pain and tension associated with sprains, strains and other disorders. It may be combined with physical therapy and other medications to provide added relief for painful injuries or conditions. Metaxalone may be prescribed for the following conditions:

  • Backache, especially in the lower back
  • Overstrained muscles
  • Spondylosis
  • Muscle spasm
  • Misaligned vertebrae
  • Spinal column disorders
  • Acute back pain

Patients with fibromyalgia may also benefit from a short-term course of treatment with metaxalone.

Contraindications for Metaxalone use

Patients who have previously experienced allergic reactions to metaxalone or related medications should not take it. Patients should notify the prescribing physician if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Seizures
  • Anemia
  • Liver disease or dysfunction
  • Kidney disease
  • Blood disorders
  • Diabetes

Metaxalone should be avoided by women who are pregnant or expect to become pregnant, as the effects of metaxalone use on pregnant women and fetal development have not yet been adequately determined. It is not known whether metaxalone is transmitted through breast milk. Children under 12 years of age should not take metaxalone.

Drug Interactions

While no serious drug interactions have been identified for metaxalone, its sedative effects may be amplified when combined with certain other medications. As a result, patients should avoid the use of alcohol, antidepressants, narcotic pain relievers and antihistamines while taking metaxalone. This is especially critical for elderly patients and other vulnerable populations who may experience respiratory depression due to the combined effects of these central nervous system depressants.

Side Effects of Metaxalone

Metaxalone may cause side effects in some patients. Minor side effects of metaxalone include the following:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Mood disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal upsets, including nausea and vomiting

Patients should consult their doctor if these conditions persist or worsen while taking metaxalone. Serious side effects are less common and include the following:

  • Dark or discolored urine
  • Jaundice
  • Hives, rashes or skin discolorations
  • Swelling of the face or throat
  • Difficulty in breathing

These complications generally require immediate medical attention. In particular, rashes, swelling and breathing difficulties may indicate a serious allergic reaction that requires emergency medical care to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient.

As with all medications, metaxalone should be taken only as prescribed and under the supervision of a physician. Used correctly, metaxalone can provide significant pain relief for patients suffering from back injuries and other disorders of the spinal column.