The skeletal muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine is available under the name Flexeril. It’s used to treat short-term pain and discomfort arising from muscle injuries, such as sprains, strains, and spasms. When used alongside physical therapy and rest, Flexeril is very effective. The FDA approved the generic form, cyclobenzaprine, in 1977, and it’s similar to the antidepressant drugs known as tricyclic antidepressants.
Flexeril is widely prescribed throughout the United States. According to the DEA, physicians wrote over 25 million prescriptions for this brand and other cyclobenzaprine medications in 2019. While cyclobenzaprine abuse isn’t as common as with other drugs, it’s still illegally obtained by users chasing a relaxing high.
The drug is most often abused by young adults who obtain Flexeril from family members or friends or illegally online. In 2012, cyclobenzaprine made headlines when Whitney Houston’s toxicology report cited it as being in her system when she overdosed.
On the street, cyclobenzaprine is often referred to as flexies, cyclone, and mellow yellow. The medication is relatively easy to identify. It’s a yellow, five-sided pill imprinted with the brand name. Flexeril is available in 5 and 10-milligram dosage strengths and is manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Cyclobenzaprine is also sold under the brand name Amrix in the United States.
What Does Cyclobenzaprine Do?
Although cyclobenzaprine isn’t a controlled substance, it can only be legally obtained through a physician’s prescription. Cyclobenzaprine works as a muscle relaxant by blocking the nerve impulses sent to the brain. It’s typically used to relieve muscle pain caused by sprains, strains, or spasms. It can be very effective when used together with physical therapy and rest.
In most cases, cyclobenzaprine isn’t prescribed for more than 10 days. This is because its therapeutic effects peak within the first few days and subside altogether after about two weeks. People taking Flexeril for longer periods are more susceptible to developing an addiction. This is because they’ll need to take progressively higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effect.
Cyclobenzaprine may be detectable in the urine for up to 13 days and in the blood for up to 10 days after use. It may also be detectable in a hair-based drug test for up to three months. An individual’s weight, age, metabolic rate, and liver function can affect how long Flexeril stays in their system. For example, those with higher body weight or metabolism will eliminate the drug faster.
Can You Get High off Cyclobenzaprine?
Getting high off cyclobenzaprine is only possible when someone abuses the prescribed dosage. Users describe a cyclobenzaprine high as a floating sensation and an altered state of mind. However, the most common effect is drowsiness.
What Are the Side Effects of Cyclobenzaprine?
The side effects of cyclobenzaprine are typically mild but can be more severe in older individuals. Common side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
Less common side effects may include a swollen face or tongue, skin rash, and problems with breathing or swallowing. Severe side effects may include fever, chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, or seizures. Instances of arrhythmias and sinus tachycardia can also occur.
When someone takes a large amount of cyclobenzaprine, they’ll appear physically floppy, drowsy, or in a very relaxed state. Their breathing may be shallow or slow, their pupils may dilate and their skin may be pale or cold. If the person is awake, they may appear drunk, with slurred speech and problems with balance.
Is Cyclobenzaprine Addictive?
Any scenario where a person is using the drug outside of a prescription is an indicator of abuse. According to the DEA, Flexeril isn’t addictive or habit-forming, but the drug’s relaxing properties may result in users becoming psychologically dependent.
Chronic and prolonged use of the drug can lead to physical dependence, and this can happen accidentally. A person taking a higher dose of Flexeril due to pain can develop an addiction over time. This is because their body becomes more and more tolerant to the presence of the drug in their system.
What Are the Dangers and Signs of Cyclobenzaprine Abuse?
The danger of abusing cyclobenzaprine far outweighs any reward. People who abuse the drug recreationally or take a higher dose than prescribed are at risk of overdose. Common signs of overdose include depressed breathing, seizures, reduced or unusual motor function and amnesia. When a user mixes Flexeril with other depressants, such as alcohol, the side effects can be severe.
If a person ingests a high dose of Flexeril, it can cause depressed breathing and an irregular heartbeat. These conditions can result in long-term physical damage, especially if emergency treatment isn’t received in time.
When a person is struggling with Flexeril addiction, the most common signs are changes in their normal behavior. These changes may include:
- Becoming aggressive or defensive whenever their use of Flexeril comes into question
- Lying about taking Flexeril or how often they’re taking it
- Feeling they need to take Flexeril every day
- Spending a lot of money on the drug
- Experiencing intense cravings for the drug
- Ensuring they always have a supply of Flexeril available
- Becoming obsessive over where to get more of the drug
- Taking the drug compulsively
- Becoming unconcerned about hygiene
- Shopping for doctors in a bid to get multiple prescriptions
- Compulsively taking the drug, even if they don’t want to anymore
- Failing to meet responsibilities at home, school or work
- Choosing to take the drug over all other activities
- Stealing money or possessions to fund their addiction
- Struggling financially
- Hurting others emotionally or ending relationships
Cyclobenzaprine Addiction: Detox, Withdrawal and Treatment
Professional treatment for cyclobenzaprine abuse can help an individual get their life back on track. Withdrawal from Flexeril is often relatively mild, and therefore medical detox isn’t always necessary. However, it’s recommended that treatment be sought from a facility specializing in drug abuse.
If a medical detox program is necessary, the person should receive around-the-clock care. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may be present during the detox phase. Trained medical professionals can respond to any symptoms and any medical emergencies. Not only does a detox prepare the body for ongoing medical treatment, but it also reduces the risk of relapse.
Common cyclobenzaprine withdrawal symptoms include:
- General discomfort
Flexeril withdrawal differs from person to person, but it typically follows a similar time line:
- General discomfort or flu-like symptoms can occur after 1-2 days without the drug.
- Withdrawal symptoms typically peak 2-4 days after the last dose.
- Symptoms may last for 1-2 weeks but will gradually subside.
During cyclobenzaprine rehabilitation, patients have access to a wide range of treatments that may include:
- In-depth 12-step program
- Chemical dependency awareness
- Relapse prevention strategies and implementation
- Life skills development
- Family healing and support
- Behavioral therapy
- Group and individual therapy
Discover Life Beyond Addiction
If you’re struggling with cyclobenzaprine addiction or are on the edge of addiction, it’s vital to get help. At FHE Health, we specialize in treating drug addiction and helping clients navigate the road to long-term recovery. Contact us today by calling (833) 596-3502. Our caring and compassionate counselors are standing by to take your call.