Tizanidine Addiction and Abuse
Tizanidine Addiction and Abuse
What is Tizanidine?
Tizanidine is a muscle relaxer that works by blocking pain signals from the nervous system that are sent to the brain. It is also used to treat constantly contracting muscles by relaxing muscle tone. It is a short-acting drug, so up to 3 doses a day may be prescribed. Tizanidine is currently sold under the brand name Zanaflex.
Is Tizanidine Addictive?
There is a potential for abuse and dependence to Tizanidine. This drug is closely related to clonidine, which is frequently abused with narcotics and can lead to rebound symptoms if use suddenly stops. A research study found three cases of withdrawal symptoms when Tizanidine was abruptly stopped.3 The study suggested that the participants were also misusing narcotics. Withdrawal symptoms included:
High blood pressure
Elevated heart rate
Stiff muscles that are hard to move
Withdrawal symptoms were found to occur more in people who were using high doses, especially for long periods, or if they used narcotics at the same time.
Tizanidine is in the drug class of alpha-2-adrenergic agonists. These drugs work to reduce nerve activity in the area of the spinal cord that controls muscles. This helps decrease muscle spasms. Tizanidine is not a narcotic.
Is Tizanidine Safe?
This medication is safe to use as long as it is taken at prescribed levels.
Research shows that:
Mean muscle tone scores were reduced by 21% and 37% in people taking the medication.
There was good to excellent global tolerability in 44% to 100% of the people taking the medication.
Tolerability is the level to which negative effects can be tolerated by the person.
In rare cases, it was reported to have caused acute liver injury, and some cases were fatal. It’s recommended that people who take the medication have blood tests often to check liver function.
Certain drugs can increase the likelihood of side effects, and these include (but are not limited to):
Heart rhythm drugs
Benzodiazepines such as valium
Opioid drugs such as methadone, morphine, or oxycodone
Stomach acid medicines
Blood pressure drugs
Some antidepressant medications
Always talk with your doctor about all the medications you are taking before you begin taking anything new. This includes over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
How is It Used and Misused?
Spinal cord injury
Unusual muscle stiffness
The medication doesn’t cure these issues but helps people handle other treatments such as physical therapy, which can help improve the condition for which they are being treated. It is a short-acting drug, and its effects are strongest between 1 and 3 hours after it is taken. Therefore, most people take it right before daily activities only when they need to reduce symptoms such as muscle spasms.
Some people who have insomnia abuse Tizanidine. That’s because a common side effect of the drug is sleepiness. Also, people battling chronic pain may misuse the drug.
Can You Overdose on Tizanidine?
Yes, you can overdose on Tizanidine. Seek emergency medical help right away if any of the following symptoms happen:
Feeling lightheaded when getting up from lying down
Slow and shallow breathing
Blue lips, fingernails, or skin
Slow or irregular heartbeat
Loss of consciousness
Irregular or rapid breathing
Drinking alcohol is associated with an increase in the side effects of Tizanidine.
Common side effects include:
Chest pain or discomfort
Uncontrolled muscle movements
The long-term effects include:
Abnormal liver function tests
Cautions and Drug Interactions
Tizanidine should be used with caution with medications like:
Talk with your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding while using the drug.
Stopping Use of Tizanidine
What is Withdrawal Like?
Withdrawal signs can appear when the drug is suddenly stopped, just like with any substance that works on the central nervous system. Anytime you wish to stop taking the drug, first talk with your doctor about a tapering down schedule.
Although Tizanidine withdrawal syndrome is a potential long-term side effect of stopping the medication, it is not common. Rare withdrawal symptoms can include:
Increased heart rate
Treatment for Misuse
Tizanidine abuse needs formal treatment to avoid any withdrawal symptoms. First, talk with your prescribing doctor or a treatment center about the best option for your situation. You may need to undergo a medically supervised detox. Much of the detox need will depend on the length and severity of the misuse. It will also depend on any other medical conditions that may be present.
Do not try to stop taking the drug on your own. Doing so suddenly can be dangerous for you both physically and mentally. It can also lead to serious withdrawal effects. Professional treatment can provide the therapies you’ll need to get on the track to recovery. Discuss your situation when you speak to healthcare professionals; they are there to help. Contact your doctor or Laguna Shores Recovery for more information.