Drug and Alcohol

Flexeril Addiction: Is Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) Addictive? Side Effects & Abuse

Is Flexeril addictive? We take a close look at this popular muscle relaxant, and answer questions about cyclobenzaprine and more.

Is Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) Addictive? Side Effects & Abuse

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

July 6, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Sold under the popular brand Flexeril, cyclobenzaprine is a widely used muscle relaxant in the same category of drugs as Tricyclic Antidepressants. This drug is used to relax muscles and relieve muscle pains, muscle spasms, and other muscle-related pains and aches.

However, as Flexeril has mild side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, blurred vision, and drowsiness, it is a prescription drug not available over the counter. This makes it vital to take the drug only in doses recommended by the doctor. This is also because cyclobenzaprine, though not yet categorized as a controlled substance, is addictive. In addition, as it is a muscle relaxant, users can experience increased tolerance to the drug when abused. 

On the street, Flexeril is known as Cyclone, Flexies, and Mellow Yellow. Flexeril abuse can have many negative consequences if abused. The drug is commonly misused, meaning it is not taken as suggested by the doctor, mixed with other narcotics or drugs, or taken in higher doses than required.

Abusing cyclobenzaprine in these ways can lead to overdose, addiction, and sometimes even fatalities. Just as you would with any other prescription medication, read the instructions and stick to recommended dosages when taking cyclobenzaprine. 

Stats About Prescription Drugs:

The National Center for Drug Abuse and Statistics (NCDAS) reports over 70,000 annual death caused by drug overdose in the United States. Prescription drugs have been a major contributor to this statistic. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 50 million individuals in America, 12 or above, have abused prescription drugs once in their lifetime.

What is Flexeril?

Flexeril is the brand name for cyclobenzaprine, is a popular prescription drug primarily used for treating muscle pains, and is sometimes prescribed for fibromyalgia. It works by blocking the sensation of hurt and pain in the central nervous system, stopping pain signals from traveling to the brain from muscles.

Unfortunately, as Flexeril can block pain in this way, it has every potential to be abused. As a result, patients may take it in more frequent or stronger doses than officially prescribed by the doctor, increasing the body's tolerance to it.

Flexeril is availed in tablet, capsule, or powder form. It is common for people to crush tablets and inhale them or even dissolve them in alcohol to amplify their euphoric effects. Consuming the drug in combination with other drugs that depress the central nervous system is also something people do to experience a higher euphoria, relaxation, or the feeling of sedation.

Flexeril comes in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets. Another brand name for cyclobenzaprine is Fexmid, which is a 7.5 mg tablet. Finally, there is an extended-release form of cyclobenzaprine called Amrix, which is a once-a-day tablet in a 15 mg to 30 mg dose.

What is a Cyclobenzaprine High?

This feeling of euphoria is known as a cyclobenzaprine high. Flexeril is commonly mixed with the following:

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Alcohol

  • Barbiturates

  • Other drugs

Common Side Effects of Flexeril

When a prescription medicine is consumed for a long time, it is common to experience some general but easily manageable side effects. However, the effects of misusing Flexeril can be more adverse in the long run. These can include:

  • Unexpected/unexplained high BP levels 

  • Feeling like you are losing control of your muscles 

  • Clouded thinking

  • Confusion 

  • Vomiting/nausea 

  • Being unable to speak properly/slurred speech

  • Dizziness 

  • Becoming angry and agitated easily and without reason 

  • High heart rate 

  • Experiencing tremors or night sweats 

  • Coma

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Can Flexeril Abuse Cause an Overdose?

Abuse of Flexeril can cause an overdose if it is not taken according to the prescription. Flexeril is commonly misused as it can make a person feel relaxed. Unfortunately, these calming effects can lure individuals into increasing their intake without consulting their doctor or without requirement. This may cause a Flexeril overdose.

Some serious impacts of Flexeril overdose are:

  • Depression of the central nervous system 

  • Seizures

  • Fever

  • Dangerously low blood pressure

  • Heart attack

  • Chest pains 

  • Serotonin syndrome

Flexeril overdose is not a commonly seen problem in people who use the drug sensibly, but people who like to mix it with other drugs can become prey to an overdose and risk their life. Despite being well-known that combining Flexeril with drugs can be hazardous to their health, some people continue to do so.

What is Serotonin Syndrome?

Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition caused by high serotonin levels in the blood. Flexeril is sometimes taken with MAOIs, which raise the amount of serotonin in the body. In turn, this can dangerously raise both blood pressure and body temperature.

Is Flexeril Addiction Common?

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, 54 million persons aged 12 and over have misused prescription drugs at least once. This includes abuse of Cyclobenzaprine, as it is not controlled and is easily accessible. In addition, the fact that it is commonly prescribed for muscle relaxation to almost all patients facing muscle pains and spasms also makes it highly accessible to almost everyone.

Young adults are abusing prescription medication such as Flexeril the most. They can easily acquire the drug from family members or friends or even find illicit sources on the street or the internet. People with legitimate prescriptions also need to be careful with long-term use. If they continue consuming the drug for an extended period, their body will eventually get used to it and require a higher dose to feel the relaxing effects of it and help the pain subside.

Patients with legal prescriptions should also keep in touch with their doctors to ensure they don't push their threshold to the substance. 

What Happens if You Mix Flexeril with Alcohol?

Flexeril and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. They slow down the body’s natural functions. When combined, they amplify this dangerous side effect. A person who uses both Flexeril and alcohol is at a far greater risk of falls, other injuries, and problems thinking.

One of the natural processes alcohol and Flexeril slow down is breathing. Although rare, it’s possible to slow down breathing to the point of suffocation when combining these drugs.

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Flexeril Addiction Signs & Symptoms 

Cyclobenzaprine, or Flexeril, can affect the working of the body and brain distinctively. Due to long-term abuse, the body can become dependent on the drug and unable to function normally without it. Slowly, over time, the mind and body develop a higher and higher tolerance to the drug; this is when things get bad. The body will now need larger doses of the drug to feel the same effects it did when the initial dose was taken.

If larger doses are taken at this point, an addiction will gradually develop. 

How Can I Identify if I am Developing an Addiction to Flexeril? 

If you or someone you love is addicted or is slowly developing an addiction to Flexeril, these are the signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Being unable to limit consumption of Flexeril

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking Flexeril

  • Engaging in illegal activities just to obtain the drug – stealing, selling, forging prescriptions  

  • Taking Flexeril in doses higher/more frequently than recommended 

  • Consuming Flexeril in combination with alcohol or other illicit drugs to amplify its effect

  • Experiencing extreme mood swings

  • Feeling hostile 

  • Asking for early refills

  • Lying about losing prescriptions 

  • Doctor shopping – trying to obtain prescriptions for Flexeril from various doctors 

If you or someone you know and love is showing any of the above signs, it is time to step in. The best thing to do is to confront them and encourage them to admit they have a problem with Flexeril. It is most likely that they will try to cover up for their actions and give excuses as to why they have been behaving suspiciously.

If they do not accept it, you need to get professional help. Recommend a doctor or counselor for them – passing on the responsibility to someone with more experience than yourself. It is the only way to try to help them. 

Who Might Become Addicted to Flexeril?

As Flexeril is most often used to treat pains and other issues, an addiction is not always intentional. Flexeril is a drug that is often abused because it is easy to avail and at reasonable costs. People that are more likely susceptible to Flexeril addiction than others may exhibit the following signs:

  • Someone with a history of substance abuse may relapse even if they take Flexeril on prescription and for genuine medical reasons. 

  • A person who has experienced substance abuse at the forefront can be extremely prone – substance abuse in close friend circles or immediate family members. 

  • People are vulnerable to developing an addiction to Flexeril if they have a social circle with a highly drug-related environment where drug use is accepted and, more importantly – encouraged.   

  • Someone who is suffering from certain mental difficulties 

Addiction to the drug may develop if the consumer is not completely aware of the risks of prescription drug abuse – they will not know why to keep their doctor in the loop and will be unable to understand when and why it is essential to stop taking Flexeril  

While trying to understand who is at risk of developing an addiction to Flexeril, it is important to note everyone is different – and so is their system. Everyone who takes the medication doesn't need to end up developing an addiction to it.

However, if you or someone you know does, in fact, display any of the above traits, they are likely on the path to addiction. This makes speaking to a healthcare provider, counselor, or addiction specialist essential. They can help you get treatment immediately and get the help you need.

Remember, there is no shame in accepting you need help! 

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Common Withdrawal Symptoms of Flexeril

When someone becomes addicted to a drug such as Cyclobenzaprine, and they try to quit, it is common for them to experience withdrawal symptoms as the effects of the last dose they took to start to wear off. This is a sign that the user is addicted to the drug.

It is a good idea to stop using under the supervision of a professional, as these withdrawal symptoms can potentially damage health. Here are some of the most usual withdrawal symptoms of the drug:

  • General discomfort

  • Fatigue

  • Severe headaches

  • Anxiety

  • Nausea

  • Chills

  • Fever

Instead of going cold turkey and stopping the consumption of the drug altogether, it is better to taper it off. A doctor or professional healthcare provider can help you understand how to taper off Flexeril healthily to avoid the most severe withdrawal symptoms.

If you cannot manage these side effects of quitting the drug, a medically-guided drug detox plan may be what you need! 

Flexeril Withdrawal Timeline

The withdrawal timeline for every drug, whether a prescription or an illicit drug, is different. Here is what the withdrawal timeline for Flexeril looks like:

The First Hours

24 – 48 hours after taking the last dose, you may start feeling general discomfort or experience common symptoms of the flu.

Two to Four Days

2 – 4 days after taking the last dose, the withdrawal symptoms of Flexeril are at their peak and have the worst impact 

Withdrawal symptoms become less severe up to 2 weeks after taking the last dose. After that, symptoms typically only last up to 2 weeks.

This timeline is not fixed and can vary from person to person depending on their specifics. 

Treating Flexeril Addiction

The path to recovery for a person addicted to Flexeril begins only when they accept that they have an addiction and acknowledge that there is a requirement for professional assistance. Seeking help is a positive sign as it demonstrates a willingness to make positive changes in your life.

Always remember that your health and life are worth fighting through, even though it may seem like a challenge at the time.

A one-on-one diagnosis and session with an addiction counselor will help you devise a treatment plan, including whether you require a detox plan, whether outpatient or inpatient rehab is better for you, which therapy/techniques might work for you, and more.

Then, once you have worked it all out and are happy with the tentative plan – you can embark on your journey to a better and healthier future! 

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We’re here to help you find your way

Would you like more information about mental health or drug addiction? Reach out today.

Flexeril Addiction is Treatable at The Forge Recovery Center

The Forge Recovery Center has a deep understanding of prescription drug abuse. We use evidence-based, proven techniques to help free people from prescription drug abuse. At The Forge, people can safely explore the roots of their addiction and develop healthy, effective coping mechanisms to build new lives for themselves.

You don’t need Flexeril to live a happy life. Reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today to learn more about our Flexeril addiction treatment program and more.

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