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Is Flexeril Addictive (Cyclobenzaprine)?

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

February 16, 2024

Table of Contents

Flexeril is a discontinued formulation of cyclobenzaprine, a prescription-based muscle relaxant that shares similarities with tricyclic antidepressants. According to the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration), cyclobenzaprine is commonly diverted and abused.

While cyclobenzaprine is not currently regulated as a controlled substance under the CSA (Controlled Substances Act), its potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction should not be underestimated.

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Read on to learn more about the following issues:

  • Is Flexeril a narcotic or addictive?
  • Is Flexeril addicting when used as prescribed?
  • Is Flexeril a controlled substance?
  • Is Flexeril overdose possible?
  • Why was Flexeril discontinued?
  • Is Flexeril still available in generic form?
  • How to connect with evidence-based addiction treatment in Southern California.

What is Flexeril?

Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is a CNS (central nervous system) muscle relaxant. It is frequently prescribed for the short-term treatment of:

  • Muscle injuries
  • Spasms
  • Tenderness
  • Pain

By acting on the CNS, Flexeril can suppress hyperactive nerve firings that lead to muscle spasms. When cyclobenzaprine is used as prescribed, it generally triggers few side effects and is associated with limited long-term risks.

Flexeril abuse may occur due to its sedative effects, especially among those seeking a euphoric high. The Flexeril high is most often associated with its sedating properties. Individuals may misuse the medication to experience sensations of relaxation, mild euphoria, and sedation. This misuse often involves combining Flexeril with other CNS depressants like alcohol, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates.  Less frequently, Flexeril is combined with substances like cocaine and amphetamines to counter the effects of stimulant highs.

While Flexeril is generally safe when used as indicated, its misuse can lead to numerous Flexeril side effects. These effects range from elevated heart rate and nausea to excessive drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, headaches, confusion, and impaired cognitive function. The potential for negative outcomes is amplified when Flexeril is misused in conjunction with other substances.

Is Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) addictive?

Cyclobenzaprine is not considered physically addictive like opioids or benzodiazepines. However, it has the potential for psychological dependence and misuse. This means some individuals might crave its relaxing effects and abuse the drug, leading to tolerance and withdrawal symptoms upon stopping.


Signs of Flexeril Addiction

Flexeril addiction may develop because of the way the medication affects the CNS – its calming effects can be appealing, leading to misuse and the potential onset of addiction. High doses of Flexeril can alter brain neurotransmitter activity. Prolonged use can trigger physical dependence. This means that even those initially taking higher doses for pain relief can become accustomed to the drug and develop addiction to the medication over time.

Several signs point to potential Flexeril addiction, such as:

  • Taking Flexeril when no longer needed or exceeding prescribed durations.
  • Requiring escalating doses for the same effects.
  • Preoccupation with Flexeril, thinking about obtaining more, its effects, and usage timing.
  • Persistent use despite wanting to stop using the medication.
  • Pretending to have symptoms to get more prescriptions.
  • Sudden changes in appearance, hygiene, and behavior.
  • Combining Flexeril with other substances like alcohol for heightened euphoria.

Withdrawal symptoms upon stopping or reducing Flexeril usage may include mild discomfort, like headaches, nausea, fatigue, and cravings.

Is Flexeril an opioid?

No, Flexeril is not an opioid. It belongs to a different class of drugs called skeletal muscle relaxants. Opioids work differently and have a higher potential for addiction and misuse.


Treatment for Flexeril Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with Flexeril addiction, seek appropriate treatment to overcome the challenges associated with substance abuse. Addiction to Flexeril can have significant impacts on health, relationships, and overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to help individuals recover from Flexeril addiction and regain control of their lives. Here is what a typical treatment plan might look like.

Seek professional help

If you suspect that you or a loved one is struggling with Flexeril addiction, first seek professional help. Consulting a healthcare provider is a good starting point. A physician can discuss your concerns, evaluate your situation, and offer guidance on appropriate treatment options, as well as providing referrals to addiction and mental health specialists.

Medical detoxification

For individuals with severe Flexeril addictions, a medically supervised detoxification process may be necessary. This process involves gradually reducing the dosage of the drug under medical supervision to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification aims to safely remove the substance from the body and manage withdrawal symptoms that may arise, addressing the issue of physical dependence and paving the way for ongoing treatment.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy is a cornerstone of addiction treatment. Therapeutic approaches like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and CM (contingency management) can help individuals understand the underlying causes of their addiction, develop coping strategies, and learn healthier ways to manage stress and triggers.

Support groups

Support groups, such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SMART Recovery, provide a platform for individuals to connect with others who are facing similar challenges. These groups offer peer support, encouragement, and a sense of community, which can be instrumental in the recovery process.

Inpatient or outpatient treatment

Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are available to cater to different levels of addiction severity. Inpatient programs involve residing at a treatment facility while receiving intensive therapy and support. Outpatient programs allow individuals to attend therapy sessions while living at home.

Holistic approaches

Holistic approaches like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices can complement traditional treatment methods. These practices can help individuals manage stress, improve overall well-being, and cultivate a healthier lifestyle.

Long-term recovery planning

Recovery from Flexeril addiction is a long-term process. After completing an initial treatment program, it is vital to develop a relapse prevention plan. This plan may include ongoing therapy, support group participation, and healthy lifestyle choices.

Remember that addiction is a treatable disorder, and with the right support and treatment, individuals can overcome Flexeril addiction and lead fulfilling, drug-free lives.

How long does Flexeril stay in your system?

The detection window for Flexeril depends on various factors like individual metabolism, dosage, and testing methods. In general, it can be detected in:

  • Urine: Up to 10 days
  • Blood: Up to 4 days
  • Saliva: Up to 4 days

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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