Common Muscle Relaxant Medications

Muscle relaxants usually used to treat back pain and other types of pain include:

    • Baclofen
      Muscle tightness and muscle spasms, including those related to spine injuries, are eased with baclofen. The medication may be helpful in treating multiple sclerosis and stabbing nerve pain. It is available as a tablet and can be taken by children as young as 12 years old. Some common side effects could include nausea and vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, headache, or muscle weakness. Baclofen is rated C in the FDA’s A through X pregnancy safety ranking for medications, with A being the safest.
    • Chlorzoxazone (Lorzone, Parafon Forte DSC)
      Chlorzoxazone is used for the relief of discomfort from acute, painful, musculoskeletal conditions. It should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to chlorzoxazone and rare liver toxicity has been reported. The doctor should be contacted in case of loss of appetite; nausea, vomiting, or tiredness; stomach pain; dark urine; pale stools; or yellowing of the skin or eyes. Chlorzoxazone is available as a tablet. It has not been rated by the FDA for safety during pregnancy.
    • Carisoprodol (Soma)
      Carisoprodol relaxes muscles and eases pain and stiffness caused by acute bone and muscle problems, as may be caused by an injury. It can be habit-forming, particularly if used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs that have a sedative effect. Patients with a history of acute intermittent porphyria or hypersensitivity to carbamate medications such as methocarbamol should avoid carisoprodol. It is taken by mouth in tablet form and is also available in combination with aspirin or aspirin and codeine. It is rated C in the FDA’s pregnancy safety ranking for medications.
    • Cyclobenzaprine (e.g. Amrix, Cyclobenzaprine Comfort Pac Fexmid, FlexePax, Flexeril, FusePaq Tabradol, Therabenzaprine-60)
      Cyclobenzaprine eases stiffness and pain from muscle cramps, also called spasms. It is not advised for those with an overactive thyroid, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, or those who have had a heart attack recently. It can be used on a longer-term basis and has a chemical structure related to some antidepressant medications, although it is not an antidepressant. Cyclobenzaprine is not specifically approved for use in fibromyalgia, but is sometimes helpful in treating that condition. It is available as a tablet and extended-release capsule. Cyclobenzaprine is rated B by the FDA for safety during pregnancy, making it the safest of the muscle relaxants to use while pregnant.
  • Dantrolene (Dantrium)
    Dantrolene helps control chronic spasticity, including that related to spinal injuries. It is also used for conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Dantrolene is taken as a capsule. It can cause liver problems, so the doctor may order regular blood tests to monitor the medication’s impact. Serious side effects are more likely in those with asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, or other lung diseases. It may cause sensitivity to light. Drowsiness is the most common side effect. The FDA has given dantrolene a C rating for safety in pregnancy.