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Info about Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants are drugs which can decrease the tone of the skeletal muscles and these medications are used in conditions such as: muscle spasms, hyperreflexia or muscle pains. This term usually refers to neuromuscular blockers and spasmolytic medications or only to spasmolytics.

Neuromuscular blockers affect the transmission at the neuromuscular end plate. They are mainly used during various surgeries, or in some emergency situations to cause paralysis of the skeletal muscles. These medications don’t affect the central nervous system at all.

Spasmolytics work by affecting the brain and because of that they are called “centrally-acting” relaxants. They are found useful in different neurological conditions, muscle spasms and muscle pains.

First drug used to relax the muscles was curare, discovered in the 16th century in South America. Its active ingredient tubocurarine and synthetic derivatives were later used in many experiments, and since 1940s, muscle relaxant drugs are used in surgical practice.

Efficacy of Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants are a group of medications, known to have sedative effect to the human body. They can be used to decrease the tone of the skeletal muscles, and they can also relax tense muscles. As effective muscle pain treatment, doctors may prescribe: diazepam, metaxalone, carisoprodol or the newest addition to the list of muscle relaxant drugs - cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride.

Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) may be effective when combined with analgesic medications like difunisal (Dolobid), especially in early stages of the muscle pain, according to some studies. Combination with naproxen (Naprosyn) is also found to work better than the medication alone in the treatment of muscle spasms and pain in the lower back.

Carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine are both equally effective in the treatment of moderate to severe acute thoracolumbar pain. Patients prescribed with any of these drugs experienced significant improvements and even though there were some side effects present, only small percent (8%) of all patients decided to stop the treatment.

Carisoprodol was also found to be more efficient than butabarbital (sedative drug) and placebo in people suffering from lower back pain. This drug was effective because of all effects it has on the body, including: analgesic, muscle relaxing, antipyretic and anticholinergic effects.

When comparing carisoprodol and diazepam, scientists found out that carisoprodol is much more effective in patients experiencing moderate to severe lower back pains.

Because of these effects, muscle relaxants can be efficient treatment for people suffering from lower back pain. However, there are some adverse effects which should not be taken lightly and patients using these drugs must use them with caution.

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