Cyclobenzaprine is a prescription medicine that helps to treat muscle spasms. Physicians commonly prescribe the drug as a short-term aid to help reduce spasms in the muscles. Used in conjunction with physical therapy and rest, this muscle-relaxing medication is usually prescribed for no longer than three weeks.
You’ll find cyclobenzaprine in brand name medications such as Flexeril, Fexmid, and Amrix. Again, this drug is only meant to be a short-term aid for reducing muscle spasms and should not be taken longer than three weeks. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Cyclobenzaprine Side Effects
As with many medications, there may be side effects that you experience while taking this drug. Note that not everyone feels all the side effects. You may feel one, three, five, or none. It depends on various factors.
Common side effects to look for include:
- Dry mouth
More serious side effects could be:
- Increased heart rate
- Mood swings
- Difficulty urinating
As with any drug, if any symptoms persist or become worse, consult your doctor immediately.
Interactions With Other Drugs
Using other drugs while taking cyclobenzaprine is not recommended because it can pose serious risks. Various drugs, including alcohol, have been known to induce serious side effects. The following is a list of some of the drugs you’ll want to stay away from while using cyclobenzaprine:
- MAO inhibitors
- Illegal drugs
- St. John’s wort
- Other muscle relaxants
- Medicines that make you feel drowsy
- Bupropion (Zyban)
- Sinus, cold, or allergy medication that contains an antihistamine
- Overactive bladder medication
- Digestive medications antacids
- Asthma medication
- Sleeping pills
- Various herbal products
- Various OTC medicines
Note that this list is not exhaustive, so always consult with your doctor before taking a new medication.
Physicians also say that you shouldn’t take cyclobenzaprine if you have a heart blockage, thyroid disorder, heart disorders, or if you’ve had a heart attack recently. In addition, don’t take it if you’ve been on a MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks.
Cyclobenzaprine and Alcohol
If you’re taking medication that has cyclobenzaprine and you drink alcohol, too, you can experience more intense side effects such as dizziness, trouble focusing, and drowsiness. You may find it more challenging to think clearly or make good decisions. You may also experience more dangerous side effects. All of these are reasons to resist drinking alcohol while taking cyclobenzaprine.
Cyclobenzaprine Interactions with Alcohol
As mentioned previously, it is not smart to drink alcohol while taking this medication. Cyclobenzaprine interactions with alcohol can cause some of the drug’s side effects to become more intense, especially those tied to your central nervous system. Some of these include:
- Trouble concentrating
Muscle relaxers and alcohol do not mix. It could result in thinking and impaired judgment. It can also significantly alter your mental alertness, per Drugs.com.
Flexeril and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. When you consume cyclobenzaprine and alcohol, it doubles your risk of experiencing distressing side effects that can seriously impact your health, as Healthline notes. Take special note of these below:
- Slowed breathing
- Reduced coordination or motor control
- Increased seizure risk
- Increased overdose risk
Also, it is critical to mention that muscle relaxers and alcohol can be potentially addictive substances. If you use one or both of these for a long time, the possibility of becoming addicted to them is heightened.
Alcohol is a depressant, and so are medications like Flexeril. To mix the two is a recipe for disaster. Whether you’re doing it on purpose to try to get intoxicated, or if you forget you’ve taken the medication and consume alcohol, it’s nothing to play around with.
In case you are wondering what happens with cyclobenzaprine and wine: wine is an alcoholic beverage and should not be taken with this medication, even in the smallest amount. What if you accidentally drink a glass of wine after you’ve taken your dose of Flexeril? A regular adult dose of cyclobenzaprine is 15 mg to 30 mg per day, according to Mayo Clinic. If you have a glass of wine after taking your dose, you may feel some of the intensified side effects listed above. It is best to sit or lie down and do not attempt to drive a vehicle since your motor coordination and judgment will be impaired.
Healthtap, an online forum where licensed physicians answer questions from the public, replied to several people who asked if it is OK to drink alcohol while on cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril). The replies about wine and Flexeril are that both are sedating substances.
People with muscle spasms should focus on movement and posture while the problem is being treated with this medicine. Alcohol disrupts this. MedHelp, another such online resource, informs that cyclobenzaprine is a long-acting medication with a half-life of one to three days. This means it takes that amount of time for half of the dose you took to be eliminated from your body. Therefore, it is best to wait at least three days before consuming alcohol when prescribed this medicine.
If all of the above information does not answer your question of can you drink alcohol with cyclobenzaprine, here is some strong advice from Spine Health, “Drinking alcohol can be especially dangerous when taking muscle relaxers. The sedative effect of the medication is intensified with alcohol use, and combining the two can be fatal.”
The warning label on Flexeril states that if you take the drug, it may “enhance the effects of alcohol.” This can be extremely dangerous, especially if you get into your motor vehicle and drive while under the influence of both drugs. More accidents, in general, occur when you mix different drugs, even over-the-counter drugs.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2011, out of about 52,000 emergency room visits involving muscle relaxants, 18 percent were in direct relation to the person using both alcohol and Flexeril. This shows that the mixture of the two drugs can cause severe and dangerous consequences.
Alcohol: Is There a Safe Amount?
According to Drugs.com, if you’re taking medications that have cyclobenzaprine in them, you should not drink alcohol at all or limit your use to a minimal amount. Also, take the recommended dose of the muscle relaxer and beware that it can make you very drowsy. You might want to avoid driving your vehicle or operating machinery that could harm you should you doze off.
Treatment for Flexeril Addiction
Both cyclobenzaprine and alcohol are substances, which if used for an extended time, can lead to addiction. Any medication you take on a long-term basis has the potential to cause tolerance, which is when your body becomes used to the drug and no longer seems to work as it once did. When this occurs, you may want to take more of the medicine. If you stop taking the medication and experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, you have become chemically dependent on the drug, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states. Addiction is a chronic and treatable disease, which is characterized by continual use of a substance despite negative consequences, such as losing your job or spending all of your money to obtain the substance.
Flexeril is one medication that has cyclobenzaprine as an ingredient. You may have become addicted to Flexeril or another muscle relaxant that contains cyclobenzaprine. Many treatment approaches can help you in overcoming an addiction.
Whether you’re addicted to Flexeril or any other drug, the first step toward treatment is going through detox. This is the time when your body will be detoxed from the toxic chemicals associated with the drugs. You may experience some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Detox facilities can help you in getting through detox with minimal discomfort.
With detox being the first step toward recovery from addiction, the second step is continuing treatment at a treatment facility. A residential treatment center offers you the opportunity to live at the center for a specific time to work on your recovery from the addiction. There, you will be under the supervision of substance abuse professionals around the clock.
You’ll have access to a physician and a counselor, as there could be some underlying issues that need to be addressed. You’ll be able to have an assessment done to see if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
You may have the opportunity to attend support groups, and you’ll have a bit of free time as well. Some people decide to stay at a residential treatment center for a short time, which may be 28 days. Others who have a more severe addiction opt to stay longer, perhaps 60, 90, or longer. The time frame will depend on your wants and needs.
If you can’t pack up and live at the treatment facility, there are outpatient treatment centers that can help you. They operate similarly to residential centers. The main difference is that you won’t spend your time there. You may attend various sessions throughout the week and then go home after each session.
You’ll still have access to a physician and counselor, and you’ll probably be encouraged to follow up with some support groups in the community. This is a great option for those who cannot get away from their job or family responsibilities for the duration of treatment.
Substance Abuse Treatment at The Palm Beach Institute
The Palm Beach Institute has been helping individuals end substance abuse safely and secure them on the road to long-term recovery for more than 50 years. Our spacious and welcoming campus is located in sunny, warm Palm Beach, Florida, where people come from around the country to begin a new, drug-free life. We’re here when you are ready to stop abusing muscle relaxers and alcohol.