(This is a pdf summary of the findings.) This 2015 report is based on a systematic review of 120 studies by a team of physicians and researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University Evidence-Based Practice Center.
In addition, many of the available studies on muscle relaxants are old and don’t meet today’s standards for high-quality research.
Thus, the continued widespread use of muscle relaxants isn’t backed up by recent research showing the balance of benefits versus risks. A 2014 report from Express Scripts, the giant pharmacy benefit manager, found that 30 percent of people taking a prescription opioid painkiller in 2013 were also taking an anti-anxiety drug or a muscle relaxant; 8 percent had taken all 3 in the timeframe studied. The advice and tables below derive primarily from a Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report on muscle relaxants.
Carisoprodol (Soma) has been associated with a high risk of abuse and addiction potential, though there’s as yet no clear understanding of the magnitude of this additional risk.
Carisoprodol is the only muscle relaxant that’s classified as a controlled substance, primarily due to the high number of reports of emergency visits attributable to the drug by the Drug Abuse Network.
Evidence these days suggests that becoming a couch potato after a muscle injury — as long as the damage is not severe — is often the worst thing to do. You’ll likely reach for one, and there’s nothing wrong with that — for most people.
Indeed, if the injury is moderate to severe, and thus more painful, taking the OTC pain reliever of your choice is advisable.Everyone who takes a muscle relaxant experiences one or more of these effects, and many experience all: The biggest practical problem is that people take muscle relaxants and expect to be able to function and work normally, including driving, operating machinery or doing cognitive tasks that require focus.As with Opioids: 1: any of a group of endogenous neural polypeptides (as an endorphin or enkephalin) that bind especially to opiate receptors and mimic some of the pharmacological properties of opiates—called also opioid peptide 2: a synthetic drug (as methadone) possessing narcotic properties similar to opiates but not derived from opium.Via Medline Plus " class="glossary Link ", muscle relaxants make all those tasks harder, even at low doses.And doing them while taking a muscle relaxant presents real risks of harm due to falls and accidents The package warnings that accompany the drugs warn against driving or operating heavy machinery.I would argue, however, that muscle relaxants deserve to be prescribed and taken with much more caution than they are.