Cyclobenzaprine vs Diazepam (Valium) – Comparison

Cyclobenzaprine

It is a muscle relaxant medication that is used to treat injury-related stiffness and pain. It can be found under the brand name of Flexeril.

The medication acts on the central nervous system to produce its muscle relaxant effects.

Uses

It is used for treating individuals who have muscle spasms due to overuse or injuries. In addition to treating injuries, this medication is used to treat some muscle spasms and cases of fibromyalgia, a disorder which can be characterized by musculoskeletal pain accompanied by mood, sleep, fatigue, and memory issues.

Important note – this medication is not recommended in people over 65 years, people with glaucoma (a condition which causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve) or in people with heart conditions, like – a recent heart attack, heart failure, or rhythm problems.

Dosage

The recommended dose is 5 mg taken 3 times a day. The dose may be increased up to 10 mg per day, depending on the condition. This muscle relaxant medication is supplied for oral administration on a short-term basis (maximum 21 days).

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • confusion;
  • problems in urinating;
  • tingling sensations;
  • abdominal pain;
  • hallucinations;
  • depression;
  • increased heart rate;
  • lack of muscle coordination;
  • constipation;
  • trembling.

Less common side effects may include:

  • changes in the skin color of the face;
  • seizures;
  • shortness of breath;
  • severe drowsiness;
  • severe unusual restlessness;
  • fainting;
  • tightness in the chest;
  • trouble breathing;
  • swelling of the area around the eyes;
  • dry, hot, flushed skin;
  • hives on the lips, face, mouth, or tongue;
  • irregular heartbeat;
  • skin rash or itching;
  • increase in body temperature;
  • wheezing;
  • unexplained muscle stiffness.

Alcohol

Avoid intaking alcohol while using this muscle relaxant medication since alcohol can increase the side effects on the nervous system, causing dizziness, drowsiness, and problems concentrating. Also, you may experience impairment in judgment and thinking.

Abuse

This medication is not as intense as other prescription painkillers, however, there is still the potential for abuse which can lead to the user feeling relaxed and sedated.

Contraindications

The medication should be avoided if you have:

  • arrhythmia, heart block, or congestive heart failure;
  • acute recovery phase of myocardial infarction;
  • used a monoamine oxidase inhibitor;
  • hypersensitivity to any component of this medication.

Diazepamdrug

This drug belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines. It can be found under the brand name of Valium. The medication works by slowing down the nerves in the brain.

It is manufactured by the Roche drug company. The US Food and Drug Administration originally approved it in 1963.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat muscle spasms, anxiety, and seizures as well as to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal including tremor, agitation, and hallucinations.

Dosage

For add-on treatment of muscle spasms, the usual recommended dose is 2–10 mg taken by mouth 3–4 times a day.

For anxiety, the usual recommended dose is 2–10 mg taken by mouth 2–4 times a day.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • loss of coordination;
  • muscle weakness;
  • tired feeling;
  • drowsiness.

Rare side effects may include:

  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
  • shallow breathing;
  • hallucinations;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • confusion;
  • severe drowsiness;
  • trouble sleeping;
  • hostility;
  • depressed mood;
  • panic attacks;
  • worsening seizures;
  • increased anxiety;
  • unusual risk-taking behavior;
  • aggression;
  • agitation;
  • hyperactivity.

To make sure that this benzodiazepine is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had:

  • liver disease;
  • glaucoma;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder;
  • a drug or alcohol addiction;
  • bronchitis;
  • kidney disease;
  • suicidal thoughts or behavior;
  • emphysema;
  • asthma;
  • depression;
  • mental illness.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Substantial amounts of this benzodiazepine may pass into breast milk. Therefore, it should not be used by nursing mothers as it may be harmful to the infant.

Additionally, it may be harmful to a developing baby, hence, this benzodiazepine should be avoided during pregnancy unless considered essential by your healthcare provider.

Drug Interactions

Types of drugs that are known to interact with this benzodiazepine and may cause problems include:

  • narcotic pain medications and barbiturates;
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (drugs used for depression);
  • some heart medications, like – metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL) and digoxin (Lanoxin);
  • phenothiazines (drugs used for severe mental illness);
  • cipro;
  • anti-seizure drugs, such as – phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakene);
  • drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, such as – levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet);
  • drugs used to treat fungal infections, such as – ketoconazole (Nizoral);
  • drugs used for anxiety, such as – fluoxetine (Prozac);
  • drugs used to treat heartburn, such as – ranitidine (Zantac) and cimetidine (Tagamet);
  • cough and cold drugs which contain antihistamines;
  • muscle relaxants, sedatives, and drugs used for sleep.

Addiction

Addiction to this benzodiazepine can easily occur in people who have a history of addiction. Once injected or swallowed, it acts very quickly on the body, producing an almost instant feeling of euphoria. For this reason, the medication should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor.

Bottom Line – Cyclobenzaprine vs Diazepam

Cyclobenzaprine (brand name – Flexeril) is a medication that is used to relieve associated pain in acute musculoskeletal conditions and skeletal muscle spasms.

Diazepam (brand name – Valium) is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, anxiety disorders, or muscle spasms. It works by affecting the chemicals in the brain which may be unbalanced in patients with anxiety.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/385807
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00404713
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4071122

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