Flexeril* (cyclobenzaprine) treats muscle spasms and relieves pain from sprains, strains, and other muscle injuries.1
People who stop using Flexeril after a significant period of time may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are not dangerous, but they can be very uncomfortable. Treatment usually consists of tapering the dose, but people who abuse the drug or other drugs should seek help at a rehabilitation program.
*The brand name Flexeril is discontinued. Generic versions are still available.
Flexeril Withdrawal Symptoms
The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on:
- The dose.
- How long the person used the drug.
- Whether the person took Flexeril with other medications or drugs (people may mix Flexeril with alcohol, barbiturates, and other central nervous system depressants to enhance the effects of these drugs). 6
People who take larger-than-recommended doses or mix Flexeril with alcohol and other drugs are more likely to experience more severe symptoms. The recommended dose of Flexeril is 5 to 10 mg, three times per day, for a maximum of 30 mg per day. However, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), some people swallow or snort as much as 60 mg at once to experience heightened sedation, relaxation, and euphoria.2
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that Flexeril users could experience tricyclic antidepressant withdrawal symptoms given the similarities between these drugs and Flexeril.3 However, there are no reports of this happening. Tricyclic antidepressant withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle aches.
Flexeril withdrawal symptoms are rarely dangerous. But people may find them uncomfortable and continue to use the drug to experience relief.
Quitting Flexeril abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms within a few days after the last dose. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Anyone using Flexeril should stop under the direct supervision of a physician.
Causes of Flexeril Withdrawal
People who are dependent can experience withdrawal symptoms.
When a person uses a drug for a long period of time, their body becomes accustomed to its presence. Various physiologic processes adjust and, over time, the person’s system comes to rely on the drug — functioning normally only when the drug is present. This is known as dependence, and people who are dependent can experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is removed from their system or the dose is reduced.
Dependence and addiction are not the same thing. But they often go hand-in-hand. Drug addiction involves significant changes in the brain. It is characterized by intense cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite negative consequences.5
Little information exists on Flexeril addiction and dependence. But there is evidence of Flexeril abuse, and the drug can cause withdrawal symptoms, which is an indication of dependence.
Treatment for Flexeril Addiction
People who have been abusing Flexeril or combining it with other substances should consider an addiction treatment program to help them quit Flexeril. People who were prescribed the drug should speak to their physician about discontinuing it.
Flexeril addiction treatment centers can help you understand why you compulsively use Flexeril or other drugs. Treatment often includes detox, individual and group therapy, medical supervision, and aftercare planning.
Treatment options available for detox and ongoing treatment include:
- Inpatient treatment: Inpatient recovery and detox options include hospital-based or residential programs that provide 24-hour structured treatment, therapy, and medical supervision. Most programs last 28-90 days, but can be extended if necessary.
- Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment may involve detox and a variety of therapeutic approaches including individual and group behavioral counseling.
- Community-based treatment: Community-based treatment includes peer-to-peer programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, non-12-step programs such as SMART Recovery, church groups, and other support programs.
- Luxury and executive treatment: Luxury residential and outpatient programs offer addiction treatment in addition to spa-like amenities such as private rooms, massage, and swimming. Executive programs are luxury programs that offer services geared toward working professionals.
No medications are specifically approved for Flexeril withdrawal treatment. However, a physician in a treatment program may offer medical support and a variety of supportive pharmacologic interventions to provide relief from your symptoms.
Your physician can outline a Flexeril withdrawal treatment program that includes a tapering process, which involves taking progressively smaller doses over the course of several weeks.
If you are still in pain, your doctor can offer alternative pain management options. Treatment options may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other medications with low abuse potential, as well as physical therapy and other pain management interventions.
. National Institutes of Health. (2010). Cyclobenzaprine.
. Drug Enforcement Administration. Cyclobenzaprine.
. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cyclobenzaprine HCI Tablets.
. Mayo Clinic. (2016). Depression (major depressive disorder).
. National Institute on Drug Addiction. (2016). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.
. Food and Drug Administration. Flexeril Cyclobenzaprine HCI Tablets.