When people think about drugs of abuse, Flexeril is likely not one that immediately comes to mind. However, more and more people are starting to abuse muscle relaxers so that they can experience their sedating and relaxing effects.
When someone abuses Flexeril, they may do so in several ways, including crushing the pills and snorting the powder. This is a dangerous method of intake that can result in various adverse health effects.
This medication is classified as a type of central nervous system muscle relaxer. When used as prescribed, it works to reduce pain by relaxing a tight or spasming muscle.
The Potential Effects of Snorting Flexeril
Some people might choose to snort Flexeril so that the effects of the drug happen faster.
When someone snorts this drug, it bypasses the liver and digestive tract. Once someone snorts Flexeril in the powder form, it immediately gets into the bloodstream where it travels to the brain. Some people say the effects are stronger when they snort this drug compared to oral ingestion.
When someone snorts a drug, the nasal passages experience inflammation and irritation. As a person continues to snort Flexeril, the irritation becomes more pronounced, which can lead to a variety of problems such as:
- Nasal mucosa irritation
- Problems swallowing
- Nasal septum perforation
- Losing the sense of smell
When someone experiences a perforated nasal septum, it may cause repeated nosebleeds or an ulcer to form in the area, according to Merck Manuals. In some cases, when a person breathes, they will hear a whistling sound.
If the crusting or bleeding associated with a perforated septum becomes severe, the person might need to have the perforation surgically repaired.
Sinusitis is another issue that can become chronic when a person snorts Flexeril on a regular basis. Sinusitis associated with snorting drugs may start off as acute but become chronic if a person continues to snort drugs.
There are possible symptoms of sinusitis, depending on if a person has the acute or chronic type, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
- Congested, blocked, or stuffy nose
- Long-lasting cold symptoms
- Pressure, fullness, or pain in the head, around the eyes, or in the face
- Loss of smell
- Thickened nasal drainage
When someone snorts this drug, they are at an increased risk for overdose. This is especially a concern if someone crushes up an extended-release tablet and takes the full pill at once.
If an overdose occurs, the following symptoms are possible, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Skin that is flushed, dry, or hot
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe drowsiness
- Increased or decreased body temperature
- Severe nervousness and restlessness
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Unexplained muscle stiffness
How Flexeril Affects the Body
When someone snorts Flexeril, they can experience the same side effects a person does when they take this drug orally. According to Medscape, these effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Blurry vision
- Unusual weakness or tiredness
Serious Side Effects
The following side effects are uncommon but serious. If any of the following side effects occur, the person should immediately seek medical attention:
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Immune hypersensitivity reactions
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Allergic reaction
Is There a Safe Way to Use Flexeril?
The only safe way to use this drug is to use it according to a doctor’s instructions. In most cases, doctors will start off by prescribing this drug three times a day at 5 milligrams per dose, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
It is imperative never to take more than the doctor prescribed. If the dose taken doesn’t help your muscle tightness or pain, you should talk to your doctor. If you increase your dose on your own, it puts you at an increased risk for side effects and overdose.
If you notice you are developing a tolerance to this drug, work with your doctor to decrease it. This will usually involve reducing the dose and the frequency at which you take the medication.
It is best to taper off the use of Flexeril to avoid the potential for withdrawal effects. Not everyone will experience these, but when they occur, they may include a headache, malaise, and nausea.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on several factors, such as how much Flexeril was taken and how long the drug was used.
The Addictive Potential of Flexeril
Flexeril is not considered to be addictive like other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and prescription opioids, according to RxList. However, this does not mean that people cannot abuse this drug.
When someone takes high doses of this drug, it is possible to experience cardiac arrest, cardiac dysrhythmias, severely low blood pressure, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.
Cardiac arrest is a condition that is characterized by heart function stopping abruptly. If immediate steps are not taken to get the heart going again, this issue is often fatal, according to the American Heart Association.
A cardiac dysrhythmia describes a type of abnormal heart rhythm. There are several types, such as atrial fibrillation, multifocal atrial tachycardia, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, atrial flutter, bradycardia, and ventricular tachycardia, according to Tufts Community Medical Center.
When blood pressure is severely low, it can cause serious symptoms, such as weakness, fainting, and dizziness. These symptoms are typically due to the body not getting sufficient oxygen since blood is not flowing as freely, according to Mayo Clinic. When prolonged, this puts someone at risk for brain and heart damage.
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is a reaction to certain drugs, such as Flexeril, that can be life-threatening in some cases. When this condition occurs, it can cause several symptoms, such as muscle stiffness, autonomic dysfunction, high fever, and altered mental status, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases.
The Bottom Line
Accepted medical use of Flexeril comes with potential side effects. Risks are compounded when the drug is abuse. And these risks are even further compounded when the drug is snorted.
Snorting Flexeril can be highly dangerous. Anyone who is using this drug in this way should seek treatment as it is a clear sign of abuse.