Muscle pain is a common but very unpleasant phenomenon that can happen for various reasons. The most probable causes are soft muscle tissue injuries or some inflammatory processes. Although it is usually harmless and does not have any consequences, soft tissue pain may indicate some more severe diseases, such as muscle or tetanus spasm, or fibromyalgia. Also, the frequent appearance of cramps and tension in the muscles can indicate the deficit of essential minerals in the body, such as magnesium and sodium.
A group of drugs used to treat this type of pain is called muscle relaxants, and Robaxin and Flexeril are two typical agents that are very commonly used. Generally, in people who often suffer from muscle inflammation and cramps (professional athletes and physically active people), adequate nutrition and proper hydration of the body is advised. If we left our organism without fluid, there is a loss of electrolytes that carry the before-mentioned minerals. And when there is a disorder of their level in the body, there are cramps and muscular stiffness.
What are Robaxin and Flexeril?
As we have already mentioned, these two drugs belong to a group of medicines called central-acting muscle relaxants. Robaxin reduces the tension of your body from pain and slows down the reaction of the central nervous system. It relaxes the muscles and relieves pain, although the exact mechanism of action is not entirely familiar.
A substance called Methocarbamol, which represents the active ingredient Robaxin, is usually prescribed after a physical injury or hard effort that caused temporary muscle pain. It works by relaxing the injured soft tissue, reducing spasm and cramps. Methocarbamol is often used in physical therapies which require rest and muscle relief for the treatment of an injury.
The active substance of Flexeril is called Cyclobenzaprine. In the recommended dose, it works by relaxing the muscles. It has a similar chemical structure to some groups of antidepressants, but its mechanism of action is much more complex. It works by blocking the transmission of the signal from the nerve to the brain, and thus relieves pain. There are many generics in the market that contain the same dose of cyclobenzaprine at lower prices. Generics of Robaxin can also be found on the market but less often.
Robaxin and Flexeril are short-term drugs
Since doctors recommend this drug for easier injuries, Robaxin is usually prescribed only for two to three weeks; for prolonged use, it is recommended to change the therapy due to consequences that this medicine can have on your health.
Therapy with Flexeril has a similar assumption. Its use is also not recommended for more than three weeks, as it will not have an effect if the tissue suffered more severe damage. In the case of mild tissue injuries, it should already be possible to cure and relieve symptoms during this period.
Dosage and recommended use
Although both drugs have a similar effect to the central nervous system, the dosage and use of Robaxin and Flexeril are different. Only the period of use is the same. Physicians recommend Robaxin in the initial daily dose of 6g, in the first two to three days. Then in the following period, the dose decreases to 4g, or 2g, depending on the extent to which the patient feels the relief of symptoms. The patients usually divide the dose into three or four equal quantities.
Flexeril has a reverse application. Its dose increases over time. In the first few days, it is recommended you to take 15mg of Cyclobenzaprine daily; later, increase the dose to 30mg in time. It is usually recommended to take this medicine three times a day.
Side effects of these muscle relaxants
The usual side effects do not differ much, and mostly refer to how the organism initially responds to some drug substance. The most common reactions are nausea, headache, and vomiting. In the use of Flexeril, patients reported dry mouth, constipation, and fatigue in a higher number of cases than when using Robaxin.
Both medications, having a mild analgesic effect, can cause drowsiness, and their taking is not recommended if you are planning to drive. Also, if you are an active drug or alcohol consumer, specific interactions such as sleepiness and dizziness are possible. It is clear to you that, in these cases, the use of muscle relaxants is not recommended, to avoid misuse.
Generally speaking, Robaxin belongs to low-cost drugs, but Flexeril is more susceptible to abuse. Cyclobenzaprine has a slightly stronger effect than Methocarbamol, but also more intense contraindications. Due to a more powerful mechanism of action, doctors do not recommend Flexeril for use in cardiac patients, and those with an overactive thyroid. Older people need enhanced monitoring when prescribing any of these muscle relaxants. Particular caution is required when the patient is on therapy with antidepressants because both active substances may have an effect on serotonin levels in the brain and interact with the prescribed treatment.
On the other hand, Robaxin is not recommended for pregnant women and women planning the pregnancy, while for Flexeril there is not sufficient data on the safety of use in these situations. There are certain indications that active substances can be transferred into breast milk, and thus affect the newborn.
Potential for abuse
Both medicines are obtained exclusively on a prescription. However, considering their purpose, they can often be misused. There are registered cases, even with the celebrities, when there is an overdose of substances such as Cyclobenzaprine. Especially the use of Flexeril is not recommended for people with a history of addiction. Since this drug has a mild analgesic effect, patients may often take more than it's prescribed, thinking that their recommended dose is not enough. In this case, the advantage is that Robaxin has a low potential for abuse.