Pain comes with a variety of underlying issues. In some cases, injuries and strains can lead to muscle tightness that makes the recovery process more uncomfortable. In such cases, traditional pain relievers may not affect the direct source of the pain. Muscle relaxants can help ease tension that can cause pain and discomfort. However, can muscle relaxants like methocarbamol cause substance use disorders like pain-relieving opioids can?
Learn more about methocarbamol’s potential for abuse and what might happen if you take it in high doses.
What is Methocarbamol?
Methocarbamol is a drug that’s used in medications that treat musculoskeletal pain. The drug is often combined with physical therapy and other pain relievers to help relax muscles that have occurred as a result of strain or injury. The drug is a muscle relaxant in a class of chemicals called carbamates, which are derived from carbamic acid. Carbamates are used for everything from muscle relaxants to insecticides.
Methocarbamol has been used in the United States since 1957, and it’s currently available to buy with a prescription. It doesn’t have as many adverse effects as some other medications that are used for their effects in slowing down the nervous system. But they can cause drowsiness, dizziness, flushing, nausea, blurred vision, and fever. As muscles relax, it may also cause a loss of motor control.
Does Methocarbamol Have High Abuse Potential?
Other pain relievers like opioids have a high potential for abuse, and they can quickly lead to dependence and addiction when abused.
The U.S. considers opioids a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has some accepted medical uses, but it also has a high potential for abuse. Methocarbamol isn’t considered a controlled substance; instead, it just requires a prescription to buy. Methocarbamol also has a low potential for abuse, even when compared to other drugs in its class. It’s considered to have a potential for abuse as the benzodiazepine lorazepam, which is considered to have a low abuse potential.
One study measured the potential effects of methocarbamol and compared it to several other drugs. Researchers found that the drug’s effects were consistent with low abuse potentials.
However, they learned that methocarbamol was reported to have more enjoyable effects over the placebo, and it also caused sedation. It only produced minor motor and cognitive impairment. While it may create some effects that might be attractive to recreational users, it’s not a likely candidate for abuse.
What Happens if You Abuse Methocarbamol?
If you were to take a high dose of methocarbamol in order to achieve some potentially pleasurable effects, you might experience some side effects. Users that abuse methocarbamol have reported feelings of dysphoria, which is a sense of unease or dissatisfaction. Some other psychoactive drugs cause this symptom, especially psychedelics and dissociative drugs.
Dysphoria may come with feelings of depression and anxiety. Other side effects of abuse may include sedation, ataxia, vomiting, and changes in heart rate. In very high doses, tachycardia (fast heart rate) can be dangerous and even deadly. If you experience these side effects, it’s important to speak to your doctor, especially if you’ve taken a high dose of the drug.