Flexeril medication helps in providing relief to Muscle pain and sleep disorder; two of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition where a person suffers widespread pain all over the body. There are various treatments for fibromyalgia symptoms. While some treatments work for some fibromyalgia patients, some treatments do not.
Some fibromyalgia patients have found that flexeril helps in fighting some of the fibromyalgia pains.
What is Flexeril?
Flexeril, also known, as cyclobenzaprine is an FDA approved drug for short-term muscle relaxant or relief of muscle spasm associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. It reduces pain by stopping nerve impulses.
The flexeril medication is often combined with physical therapy and other treatments to provide more relief. It has been reported that flexeril medication and physical therapy further helps reduce muscle pains.
However, it is not approved for long-term usage or to treat any symptoms of fibromyalgia. Doctors often prescribe flexeril for fibromyalgia patients for their sleeping problems.
According to a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, low-level doses of flexeril benefited fibromyalgia patients.
The study found that taking flexeril at bedtime helped reduce pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms. The participating patients also reported a decrease in fatigue, tenderness and pain. The patients also reported better sleep and improved moods.
A 2011, 36 patients suffering from fibromyalgia were taken up for a study. Eighteen of them were given low dose of flexeril. They were started off with 1 mg of flexeril and eventually went up to 4 mg. The other eighteen patients were given placebo.
All 36 patients were given the respective dose every night for 8 weeks. The study revealed that the low dose of flexeril made a positive difference with a few major side effects while patients on placebo did not report any improvements.
According to the study, pain intensity levels for the flexeril group decreased by 26.1 percent while the placebo group did not report any change in their pain level.
Daytime fatigue for those who took flexeril decreased by 14 percent while for those who took placebo remained the same.
Similarly, for those patients who were on flexeril, their average sleep time increased by about one and a half hour while the patients who were on placebo did not report any increase in their average sleep time.
The only improvement for both the groups of patients were on the anxiety or depression side. All the patients reported improvement in their anxiety or depression score. However, patients on flexeril reported higher improvement score.
At the end of the study, all the patients were asked to rate whether they had experienced any improvement in their symptoms since the start of their treatment.
The result revealed that those taking low dose of flexeril rated themselves as improved while those on placebo did not.
According to the BESTFIT study, fibromyalgia patients who met the 2010 ACR criteria for fibromyalgia were randomized to sublingual cyclobenzaprine of 2.8 mg taken at bedtime for 12 weeks or to placebo.
The patients were assessed daily on pain and sleep rated on a 10 point scale, “Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR), the Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) scale and the PROMIS Sleep Disturbance scale.”
The study revealed that bedtime sublingual cyclobenzaprine failed to change average daily pain scores at week 12.
However, it showed an improvement in a number of secondary end points including sleep, effect on pain and the overall symptoms.
An analysis of 172 patients by Harvey Moldofsky, from the Centre for Sleep and Chronobiology in Toronto showed that sublingual cyclobenzaprine had favorable effect on both sleep and pain.
It revealed that all measures of sleep quality and measures of pain improved with cyclobenzaprine over the 12-week study period.
Likewise, the reduction in the PROMIS Sleep Disturbance score was significantly greater in the cyclobenzaprine group than in the placebo group by week four, and this was sustained out to week twelve.
It also saw reductions in the daily sleep diary score that was significantly greater in the cyclobenzaprine group than in the placebo group at week one.
A reduction in FIQR score also indicated an improved sleep quality. This was also significantly greater in the cyclobenzaprine group than in the placebo group by week two, which was sustained out to week twelve.
The study reported that improvements in sleep quality preceded the other changes in fibromyalgia.
Side effects of flexeril
Like most of medications, flexeril also has several side effects. It is important to understand these side effects before you take this medication.
Some of the most common side effects are rapid heartbeat, chest pain, arm or shoulder pain, headache, confusion, weakness, nausea, seizure and fever.
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
It is very important to note that if any of the side effects persists or worsen, inform your doctor immediately.
Flexeril or cyclobenzaprine may also interact with other medications and therefore, it is important that you let your doctor know about any other medication that you are on.
A serious allergic reaction may be rare but get medical help immediately if you notice any symptoms of allergic reaction such as rash, itching or swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, severe dizziness or breathing trouble.
Who should not take flexeril medication?
Flexeril medication is not recommended for people who take MAO inhibitors and those who are on irritable bowel medications, and patients who have heart related problems.
It is also recommended not to use this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How to use flexeril?
Flexeril medication is taken by mouth with or without food especially at night. The dosage of flexeril depends on your medical condition. For fibromyalgia patients it usually starts from 1 to 4 mg a day.
This medication is recommended only for short-term use. It is important to remember not to stop or increase the dose on your own.