If you have a big day ahead, getting enough sleep is crucial, but it’s not always easy. Knowing that you need proper rest for peak performance can sometimes add pressure and have the opposite effect, creating a tough-to-break and leaving you sleep-deprived.
In such cases, your doctor may recommend trying a sleep medication like cyclobenzaprine. While the drug’s sedative effects may help you enjoy a restful night’s sleep, you might wonder—is cyclobenzaprine addictive? To help you better understand this medication, we’ll explore the various aspects of cyclobenzaprine, including its benefits, addiction potential, and guidelines for safe usage.
Understanding Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
Commonly known by the brand name Flexeril, cyclobenzaprine is a prescription drug belonging to a class of medications known as skeletal muscle relaxants. Doctors prescribe cyclobenzaprine to address short-term pain and discomfort arising from muscle injuries such as strains, sprains, and spasms.
Cyclobenzaprine’s mechanism of action involves the central nervous system, as the medication blocks pain sensations that would otherwise travel from sore and spasming muscles to the brain. This interference not only alleviates discomfort but also induces a sense of relaxation, helping you fall asleep.
Typically, your doctor will prescribe Flexeril as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes rest and physical therapy. There are also instances where Flexeril may be prescribed to alleviate pain from specific musculoskeletal disorders, like fibromyalgia. Its off-label use extends to:
- Relieving tension headaches
- Treating tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Addressing insomnia
Here are some key facts about cyclobenzaprine:
Image source: Ivan Oboleninov
Cyclobenzaprine Abuse and Dependence Potential
Cyclobenzaprine is exclusively available through prescription in the U.S., implying a potential for misuse. The abuse of prescription drugs, including cyclobenzaprine, is prevalent among young adults because these substances are relatively easy to get—they can be stolen, received from friends or family members, or purchased illegally on the internet.
Those who misuse cyclobenzaprine might initially have a legitimate prescription for the drug. Still, this seemingly innocent use can swiftly turn into tolerance and abuse, particularly when taking higher doses or using the drug over an extended period.
Is Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) Addictive?
Cyclobenzaprine isn’t classified as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), signifying a relatively low potential for misuse. Still, the drug is known to amplify the effects of other substances, including alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids.
Emergency room visits related to muscle relaxant misuse surged by 84% from 2004 to 2011, with cyclobenzaprine being responsible for over half of these cases. After the DEA reclassified the muscle relaxant carisoprodol (Soma) as a Schedule IV drug in 2011, there has been an uptick in Flexeril misuse because it’s easier to get since it’s not a scheduled substance.
The DEA acknowledges anecdotal evidence of non-medical misuse of cyclobenzaprine, driven by its potentially euphoric and sedating effects. Using Flexeril beyond the recommended 2–3 week timeframe for therapeutic effects indicates misuse. Also, if you acquire Flexeril without a prescription or use it in a way that doesn’t follow the prescribed guidelines, you're potentially misusing the drug. As is common with many prescription medications, the misuse of Flexeril can escalate into full-fledged addiction in some cases.
Signs of Being Addicted to Cyclobenzaprine
Image source: Andrea Piacquadio
While it may not carry the same level of misuse potential as controlled substances, problematic patterns of misuse can still emerge even with a drug like cyclobenzaprine.
Several signs indicate an issue with compulsive cyclobenzaprine use, whether used on its own or combined with other substances. Here are the signs, symptoms, and behavioral changes that may indicate a cyclobenzaprine problem:
- Increased tolerance—Needing higher doses of cyclobenzaprine to achieve the same effects
- Compulsive use—Feeling compelled to use the drug regularly, even when not necessary
- Loss of control—Difficulty controlling cyclobenzaprine use despite recognizing potential negative consequences
- Neglect of responsibilities—If the use of the medication begins to interfere with a patient’s daily responsibilities at work, school, or in personal relationships, it could be a red flag
- Preoccupation with obtaining the frug—Spending significant time and energy obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of cyclobenzaprine
- Continued use despite negative consequences—Persisting in cyclobenzaprine use despite experiencing negative outcomes, such as health issues or strained relationships
- Isolation—Withdrawing from social activities and relationships, choosing to use cyclobenzaprine in isolation
- Mood changes—Noticeable shifts in mood, such as irritability or anxiety, when not using Flexeril
- Failed attempts to quit—Difficulty quitting the medication despite earnest attempts to do so
- Physical symptoms—Presence of physical symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, or gastrointestinal issues when not using cyclobenzaprine
If any of these indicators are present, it could mean you must discontinue the medication to avoid substance abuse. Reach out to your healthcare provider to explore your treatment options.
Common Cyclobenzaprine Withdrawal Symptoms
If you develop a dependence on cyclobenzaprine and try to stop or reduce your doses, you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, although these are generally not severe. Common withdrawal symptoms of cyclobenzaprine include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Aches and pains
- Headache or migraine
Can Cyclobenzaprine Get You High?
Besides alleviating spasms and associated pain, the physical effects of cyclobenzaprine also include sensations of relaxation, drowsiness, and a mild “floating” feeling, similar to a relatively gentle high. This sensation typically occurs during initial uses or if you take the drug more frequently or in higher amounts than directed. Unlike the recommended 5 to 10 mg doses (three times per day) for persons aged 15 years and older, the cyclobenzaprine recreational dose is frequently much higher, ranging from 20 to 80 mg or more.
While the cyclobenzaprine high may not be as potent as some other central nervous system (CNS) depressants like benzodiazepines, it can induce prolonged feelings of relaxation and calm, prompting some users to experiment with its use.
Treatment for Cyclobenzaprine Misuse
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be misusing cyclobenzaprine, there are treatment options available to help manage the situation. Check out the details in the table below:
How To Use Cyclobenzaprine Safely
Image source: Andrea Piacquadio
To ensure you’re using cyclobenzaprine safely, follow the prescribed guidelines and consult your healthcare provider if you have any doubts or concerns regarding dosage. Here are the general tips for safe cyclobenzaprine use:
- Take cyclobenzaprine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the recommended dosage to ensure optimal effectiveness without increasing the risk of adverse effects or addiction
- If you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of using cyclobenzaprine with your healthcare provider
- Refrain from taking cyclobenzaprine with alcohol or other CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines (like Xanax or Valium), opioids, and sleeping pills
- Tell your doctor about any other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements
- Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of the drug subside
If you’re experiencing sleep issues and considering cyclobenzaprine as a potential remedy, it’s essential to first seek guidance from a sleep specialist. These experts can thoroughly evaluate your situation, assess the potential risks and benefits of cyclobenzaprine, and devise the most suitable plan to enhance your sleep quality. Seeing such experts can be a daunting task, as only a small percentage of medical professionals (around 1%) specialize in sleep medicine.
The good news is that Kick, a performance medicine clinic, provides a convenient solution. Kick offers personalized and efficient services online, eliminating the need for lengthy waiting periods and convoluted procedures. This user-friendly platform connects you with sleep specialists who offer expert advice and customized treatment plans from the comfort of your home, assisting you in achieving restorative sleep.
Kick—Sleep Science at Your Fingertips
Designed by a Stanford sleep doctor, Kick’s sleep program provides an effective solution to sleep issues tailored to your specific needs and medical history. With Kick, you can connect with a sleep medicine specialist remotely within a day and receive two trial medications delivered either to your home or a local pharmacy. Our array of sleep medications is the most extensive in the industry and includes:
Following a one-week trial of each prescription, you’ll provide feedback to our sleep doctor, and they’ll adjust your treatment if necessary to optimize the results. Having multiple medications allows you to rotate them to prevent dependence. In addition to medications, our sleep expert offers cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) coaching and valuable advice on sleep hygiene. Finally, regular check-ins will ensure the ongoing effectiveness of your treatment.
Kick’s outstanding Trustpilot rating and reviews serve as the best testament to our dedication to delivering outstanding care to our patients.
Celebrate Your Mornings With Kick
Image source: Andrea Piacquadio
To embark on your Kick sleep improvement journey, follow these three steps:
- Visit the signup page and complete a 15-minute online sleep visit
- Fill out the form that collects information about your sleep issues and medical history
- Enter your delivery address and payment details
One of our doctors will reach out to you via text within 24 hours. If our team determines that Kick isn't the right solution for you, they’ll refer you to your primary care doctor, and you won’t incur any charges for the initial consultation, as per our Doctor Guarantee policy.
For a more tranquil and rejuvenating night, sign up for Kick today and receive a personalized and comprehensive sleep treatment plan.
Featured image source: Andrea Piacquadio