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Do Muscle Relaxers Cause Constipation

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Warnings For Prescription Muscle Relaxants

Do Muscle Relaxers STOP PAIN? How They Work & Answers To Common Concerns

Muscle relaxants such as carisoprodol and diazepam can be habit forming. Be sure to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Muscle relaxants can also cause withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or hallucinations . Do not suddenly stop taking your medication, especially if youve been taking it for a long time.

Also, muscle relaxants depress your central nervous system , making it hard to pay attention or stay awake. While taking a muscle relaxant, avoid activities that require mental alertness or coordination, such as driving or using heavy machinery.

You should not take muscle relaxants with:

  • alcohol
  • naproxen

What Are Muscle Relaxers For Dogs

Muscle relaxants are medications prescribed by a vet that relax the muscles within your pet. They can reduce muscle spasms, inflammation, and relieve spinal cord conditions.

It has not been officially determined for which conditions muscle relaxants should be prescribed except for spinal conditions therefore, it is mainly up to the veterinarian to determine which option and when to use.

Muscle relaxers work by reducing the stiffness or how tense the muscles are, which then reduces the amount of pain or discomfort being experienced by the dog. Some muscle relaxers work by directly affecting the muscles of the canine’s body while other types act on the animal’s nervous system, or the brain and spinal cord.

Relaxers block the inter-neuronal pathways in the spinal cord and the mid-brain activating system, and are very beneficial to make dogs experiencing intense pain feel more comfortable. But even though they are beneficial, they do not actually heal the injuries or the disorders, and they only relieve the sensation of pain associated with them.

Drink Plenty Of Fluids

Water plays a large part in keeping your body healthy. It is essential for keeping fecal matter flowing through the intestines. Although most people have heard that you should drink six to eight glasses of water a day, you might not need to consume that much. Four to six cups of water per day are generally enough for healthy people, according to Harvard Health.

Some medications cause you to retain water, and some health conditions require you to limit your fluid intake. If you are taking medications that cause constipation, you should talk to your doctor about how much water you should be drinking.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxants are most commonly used to ease skeletal muscle pain temporarily. These are sedatives that relax and depress the central nervous system, thereby alleviating the pain. These are generally used in addition to therapies to ease pain, mainly back ache. They are so composed as to give instant relief to pain. Continuous and frequent usage of these sedatives leads to some major side effects and addictions which will be discussed here.

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Interactions That Increase Your Risk Of Side Effects

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Taking cyclobenzaprine with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from cyclobenzaprine. This is because the amount of cyclobenzaprine in your body is increased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines, such as triazolam, alprazolam, and midazolam. You may have more sedation and drowsiness.
  • Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital. You may have more sedation and drowsiness.
  • Certain drugs used to treat depression, such as fluoxetine, venlafaxine, amitriptyline, or bupropion. You may be at a greater risk for serotonin syndrome.
  • Verapamil. You may be at a greater risk for serotonin syndrome.
  • Anticholinergic drugs, such as tolterodine or oxybutynin. You may be at a greater risk for certain side effects. These include dry mouth or not being able to urinate.

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How Do Laxatives Work

There are several different kinds of laxatives. Each one works a different way. These are the most common types.

Bulk-forming laxatives

These laxatives add soluble fiber to the stool. This causes the stool to absorb more water. It creates larger, softer stools. The larger stools help trigger the bowel to contract. This moves the stools out. Bulk-forming laxatives generally are the safest type of laxative.

Examples of bulk-forming laxatives include:

  • psyllium
  • polycarbophil
  • methylcellulose

To reduce your risk of side effects, you should start slowly. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids while taking bulk-forming laxatives. Gradually increase how much you use until you get the results you want.

Lubricant laxatives

These coat the surface of the stools to make them slippery. Doing this helps the stools move out of the body more easily. Glycerin suppositories lubricate the inside of the anus . This makes it easier to pass hard stools out of the body.

Stool softeners

These help mix fluid into stools to soften them. This makes stools easier to pass out of the body. An example of a stool softener is docusate .

Osmotic laxatives

These cause the intestine to hold more fluid. This softens stools and helps the bowel move them out. Examples include polyethylene glycol and magnesium hydroxide solution .

Stimulant laxatives

Check The Cause Of Your Constipation And Eliminate It

It is important to check the cause of your constipation. not all constipation is primary or idiopathic. some medical conditions, medications, and hormonal imbalances can lead to constipation.

Check your doctor for overlooked causes of constipation and eliminated them if present such as:

  • Medications: many antibiotics, IBS medications , blood pressure, anti-anxiety, and anti-depression medications can lead to constipation.Review the list of medications with your health care provider to determine what is best for you.
  • Endocrinal disease: hypothyroidism, hypokalemia, panhypopituitarism.
  • Neurological diseases: diabetic neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, intestinal pseudo-obstruction, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease.

Identifying and treating any causes of secondary constipation will help the relaxation of sphincter muscles in the long term.

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How Do I Safely Take Otc Laxatives

Before you take an OTC laxative, read the directions on the drug facts label. This will tell you how much medicine to take and how often to take it. If you have any questions about how much medicine to take, call your family doctor or pharmacist. Keep a record of the OTC medicines you are using and when you take them. If you need to go to the doctor, take this list with you.

Follow these tips to make sure you are taking the right amount of an OTC laxative:

  • Take only the amount recommended on the medicines label. Dont assume that more medicine will work better or quicker. Taking more than the recommended amount can be dangerous.
  • If you are taking a prescription medicine, ask your doctor if its okay to also take an OTC laxative.

How To Prevent Constipation While Taking Cyclobenzaprine

Pharmacology – Muscle relaxers, Baclofen nursing RN PN NCLEX

Cyclobenzaprine, the generic name for the drug Flexeril, is a prescription muscle relaxant and pain reliever. According to, it acts by blocking pain sensations that are sent to the brain. It is typically used with rest and physical therapy to treat muscle conditions and pain. Constipation may be a side effect of this drug for some people, as many pain relievers are, but you can take some steps to keep this from occurring.Talk with your doctor if you have persistent constipation.

Take a psyllium capsule or psyllium fiber product such as Metamucil. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that psyllium is a soluble fiber that has a laxative effect 2. Follow the instructions on the package and check with your doctor before using it to make sure it is safe for you to consume.

Participate in some sort of physical activity, if your doctors and physical therapists say it is safe to do so. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse explains that a lack of physical activity contributes to constipation, although the reasons are not known 3. Ask your doctor what activities are safe to do while on cyclobenzaprine that will not cause you additional pain.


Ask your doctor whether there are any other muscle relaxants or pain relievers that may not cause constipation, if cyclobenzaprine causes you significant problems. She may be able to recommend another drug that may work better for you.


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What Drugs Interact With Flexeril

Muscle Relaxants Are Typically A Second

Scientific evidence and medical consensus indicate that back pain must be treated first with pain-relieving medications, such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . If these treatments fail, doctors may prescribe skeletal muscle relaxants for a short duration.1,2 Examples of prescription skeletal muscle relaxants include cyclobenzaprine and carisoprodol.

Research isnt very robust on the use of muscle relaxants for back pain. The use of these drugs may also be considered controversial by some physicians.1

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Medications That Cause Constipation

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Constipation is a common digestive issue. Around 16% of people in the United States and one-third of those over the age of 60 complain of chronic constipation. Between 2006 and 2011, constipation accounted for more than 700,000 trips to the emergency room.

Symptoms of constipation include:

  • Fewer than three bowel movements per week
  • Small, hard, dry stools that are difficult or painful to pass
  • The need to strain excessively to have a bowel movement

Some people experience pain in their abdomen when they are constipated, especially after meals. Some might have nausea, vomiting, headaches, or feel generally unwell.

There are many causes of constipation, including:

  • A low-fiber diet
  • Ignoring or delaying the urge to defecate
  • Travel and schedule changes

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Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

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Along with its needed effects, tizanidine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking tizanidine:

More common

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Preventions While Using Muscle Relaxants

  • Many a times, people using muscle relaxants lose their alertness and are advised not to drive vehicles or operate heavy machines or make important decisions since any muscle relaxant induces drowsiness and gives sedative effect. Hence, they must be taken only at bedtime.
  • People using Muscle relaxants should be advised not to take them for a long time.
  • They should not be taken by the elderly people, pregnant women, drug and alcohol addicts, and people who suffer from depression.
  • A combination of muscle relaxants and histamines should be avoided.
  • Cyclobenzaprine is not advised for patients with overactive thyroid, heart rhythm problems and cardiac problems.

The synthetic muscle relaxers reduce muscle pain and spasm. They are to be used for short term only. They are not prescribed for long term use, since they cause a number of side effects. Long-term use can also result in adverse health complications. Also one should avoid use of muscle relaxers if there are alternate therapies available. Rest, physical therapy, massage and use of essential oils do provide relief from back pain and neck pain. Consistent use of alternative therapies will allow an individual to live a healthy life in future and also escape from the side effects of muscle relaxants.

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Why Is This Medication Prescribed

Cyclobenzaprine is used with rest, physical therapy, and other measures to relax muscles and relieve pain and discomfort caused by strains, sprains, and other muscle injuries. Cyclobenzaprine is in a class of medications called skeletal muscle relaxants. It works by acting in the brain and nervous system to allow the muscles to relax.

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What Are Muscle Relaxers

Muscle relaxers or muscle relaxants are medications used to treat acute muscle pain and discomfort caused by muscle spasms. Muscle spasms are involuntary contractions that cause excessive strain in muscles and are often associated with conditions such as lower back pain and neck pain.

Medications used as muscle relaxers can differ in their chemical structures and the way they work in the brain. In general, muscle relaxers act as central nervous system depressants and cause a sedative effect or prevent your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. The onset of action is rapid and effects typically last from 4-6 hours.

Some of the common side effects of muscle relaxers include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth

The most commonly prescribed muscle relaxers are carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine . According to data from IMS Health, there were 4.2 million prescriptions of Soma and 28.4 million prescriptions of Flexeril dispensed in the United States in 2017.1-2

Risks And Side Effects Of Muscle Relaxants

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Muscle relaxants are the medications used to treat muscle pain, spasm or spasticity. Chemically, these are synthesized drugs of diverse sets. Some of them act on the skeletal muscles. Although, muscle relaxants provide relief from the pain and discomfort, there are certain risks and side effects associated with the use of muscle relaxants which is important to be aware of.

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Acute Back Pain May Benefit More From A Muscle Relaxant

While treating acute musculoskeletal back pain, a short course of muscle relaxants may be more effective when used as an adjunctive treatment in the first 3 weeks. They may also be used when back pain causes disturbed sleep .3

These drugs exert their muscle-relaxing effects by inhibiting nerve signals in the brain and spinal cord and may help break the pain-spasm-pain cycle, where pain causes your muscles to spasm as a protective response, and those spasms, in turn, cause more pain.3

See Common Uses for Treating Back and Neck Pain with Muscle Relaxers

Should I Use A Laxative To Treat Constipation

Most of the time, constipation doesnt require treatment with laxatives. It will usually go away on its own. Or you can make changes in your diet and other habits. You can prevent or treat constipation by:

  • Eating foods rich in soluble and insoluble fiber .
  • Drinking enough fluids.
  • Getting enough exercise.

You may try all of these things and still be constipated. That is when taking a laxative may help you.

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Tip Sheet: Ten Medications Older Adults Should Avoid Or Use With Caution

Because older adults often have long-term health conditions that require treatment with multiple medications, there is a greater chance of experiencing unwanted drug side effects. Older people can also be more sensitive to certain medications.

To help you make better-informed decisions about your medications, and to lower your chances of overmedication and serious drug reactions, the American Geriatrics Societys Health in Aging Foundation recommends that older people be cautious about using the following types of medications, including some that can be purchased without a prescription .

If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Do not stop taking any medication without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Could Laxatives Cause Problems With Any Medicines Or Supplements I Take

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Laxatives can get in the way of how your body absorbs certain medicines and nutrients. Dont take any other medicines within 2 hours of taking a laxative. If youre taking a prescription medicine of any kind, talk to your doctor before taking a laxative. You also shouldnt mix different types of laxatives. This includes oral laxatives and suppositories. Dont take bisacodyl within 1 hour of taking antacids or drinking milk.

Mineral oil and castor oil are sometimes used as laxatives. They shouldnt be used often. If mineral oil is used often, it can cause deficiencies of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Castor oil is a stimulant laxative. Using it a lot can cause you to lose muscle tone in your bowel. This can lead to long-term constipation. Mineral oil and castor oil also interact with some medicines. These include blood-thinners, antibiotics such as tetracycline, and certain heart and bone medicines.

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What Are The Possible Side

Most people who take antispasmodics do not have any serious side-effects. If side-effects occur, they are usually minor. In general, the smooth muscle-relaxant types tend to have fewer side-effects. The side-effects depend on which of the antispasmodic medicines you are taking. Some of the more common side-effects are:

  • Heartburn
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty passing urine

Note: the above is not the full list of side-effects for these medicines. Please see the leaflet that comes with your particular brand for a full list of possible side-effects and cautions.

These medicines sometimes react with other medicines that you may take. So, make sure your doctor knows of any other medicines that you are taking, including ones that you have bought rather than been prescribed.

How to use the Yellow Card Scheme

If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at

The Yellow Card Scheme is used to make pharmacists, doctors and nurses aware of any new side-effects that medicines or any other healthcare products may have caused. If you wish to report a side-effect, you will need to provide basic information about:

  • The side-effect.

What Is The Best Over

These are the medications that you can find while perusing the aisles at your local pharmacy or convenience store. Most of them are household names, and its not uncommon to keep them on hand, stashed in a medicine cabinet, just in case. Even though OTC medications are easy to obtain, theyll do the job for many aches and pains, and doctors often recommend them prior to prescribing stronger treatment options.

OTC NSAIDS, like ibuprofen and naproxen, are a good first line agent to decrease inflammation surrounding an injury, recommends Joanna Lewis, Pharm.D., creator of The Pharmacists Guide. They might not have the same potency of high-grade muscle relaxants, but theyre still effective and have very few side effects. If you roll your ankle at the gym or wake up with back pain, try one of these before asking your doctor for a prescription.

  • Advil : This is a staple of parents, doctors, and athletes alike. Ibuprofen is one of the most widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs available. As such, Advil doesnt just remedy pain, but also inflammation as well. Its highly versatile. Use it to treat low back pain, osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps, fever, headaches, migraines, sprains, and other minor injuries. Low doses are available over the counter, but a doctor can prescribe higher doses as well.
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