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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Flexeril

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 02/5/2000]
Question: My husband has been on flexeril, tylenol3, and naprosyn for almost a year for back pain and recently back surgery. We were wondering if this medication either affects sperm or would cause problems in an unborn child should one be conceived. If it could cause defects in either sperm or a child how long after the medication is stopped would it be safe to conceive?

Answer: Shouldn't be a problem with either the Tylenol 3 or the naprosyn. Flexeril is a Class B drug for pregnancy(pretty low risk) and is not mentioned as causing any spermatic changes in the PDR.

[posted 10/20/1999]
Question: Hello, I have been clean and sober for 7 1/2 years. I have just
came up positive for Morphine. And the only thing I've taken is a
couple of Flexeril for lower back pain, could this have that
effect on the test? And also what about Poppy seed bagel's, some
one told me that depending on your own body chemistry that could
also produce that result.?.

Answer: Flexeril is not a narcotic and should not come up as morphine. Nor do poppy seeds. The structure of Flexeril is most like the tricyclic antidepressants. Sorry, I can't be of more help.

Flexeril: Is Breast Emlargement a Side Effect? [posted 10/28/98]
Question: I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia and take Flexeril for muscles and improved sleep. Somewhere in one of my older drug books (now thrown away in favor of a newer, updated one), I read where it can cause breast enlargement. Do you know if this is still accurate in terms of possible side effects? I have sure noticed an increase in breast size and am researching this. It was listed as a side effect in my old drug book, but not in my new one. Thank you for your time and attention.

Answer: Breast enlargement is listed as a potential complication, but, I have not seen this problem in patients. On the other hand, I rarely use it for long periods of time.

Flexeril: Is Numbness a Side Effect? [posted 10/6/98]
Question: I am taking several different kinds of medications: Arthotec, Tylenol 3 and Flexeril. I think flexeril is causing numbness to my body. Is this a side effect?

Answer: Not usually, but, stop it and see if the numbness goes away. It does affect pain thresholds and that may be what you are describing.

Flexeril [posted 8/11/98]
Question: My husband was prescribed flerxeril for back muscle spasms. He also has bruised ribs. He is experiencing mood swings, and continual erections.

Answer: Mood changes would be common, priapism (continual erections) would be much less frequent. I would stop the drug - there are other alternatives to back spasms.

Flexeril [posted 7/23/98]
Question: What is it and what is it used for?

Answer: Flexeril is a muscle relaxant used mainly in patients with back spasm, but occasionally in spasm following trauma.

Flexeril for Fibromyalgia
Question: I have been prescribed Flexeril for my Fibromyalgia. What I would like to know is what the standard dosage is?

Answer: Starts at 10 mg three times a day and can increase if one can tolerate the side effects to 20 mg t.i.d.

Flexeril Dosage
Question: What is the maximum daily dose of flexeril. Flexeril seems to be the only medication I can take at bed time and actually sleep all night. My Rhumetologist recently left his practice and my family doctor (Internal Medicine) has a fit with the dosage the Rhumetologist has me using. My family doctor wants me to take 10 mg three times a day. That does not help my sleep and pain problem. I take 40 mg at bed time. If I take any less I do not sleep all night. Since 1991, I have tried all of the other typical medications: elvil, trazadone, etc., with no relief. I have also been treated by five different doctors. Should I tell my doctor to just deal with it or send me to someone else or am I putting myself at risk with the way I use flexiril?

Answer: 10 mg, three times a day is the average starting dosage. I have patients occasionally on 20 mg t.i.d., but I doubt that your regimen is any more toxic than these. There is a risk of some toxicity with a higher dosage, but if you don't take it the rest of the day it would seem to be less. So how is he/she going to know if you do take 4 at bedtime versus 3 a day? If it were me, I'd stay on your current regimen.

Question: I am looking for information on the muscle relaxer Flexeril. What I need most are the cons but not the pros of taking this drug.

Answer: Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is used in muscle spasms and treatment of similar disorders. It has strong atropine like effects and the negatives are usually centered around the atropine-like side effects. These include increasing glaucoma pressures and urinary retention. It should be used with extreme caution with alcohol and MAO inhibitors. It should not be used in hyperthyroid patients or in patients with congestive heart failure. It normally causes drowsiness, dry mouth, and dizziness(atropine side effects). Fatigue, nausea, constipation, dyspepsia, blurred vision, headache and confusion are also reported. There is a long list of occasional problems(1 in 100), but these are the common ones.

Question: Can I safely drink alcohol while taking flexeril? What are the general precautions while taking flexeril?

Answer: Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is commonly used to treat muscle spasms, usually in the back. Common side effects include trouble urinating, exacerbation of glaucoma, sleepiness, dry mouth, and vertigo. It should not be used with alcohol since it increases the effects of both.

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