Cyclobenzaprine vs Xanax (Alprazolam) – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Cyclobenzaprine

It is a medication that is sold under the brand names Fexmid, Flexeril, Tabradol, Amrix, and FusePaq. It belongs to the family of medications known as muscle relaxants.

It is not known exactly how it works to relieve muscle spasms, however, it is thought that it mostly works in the brain stem and not directly on the muscles.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat pain caused by noninflammatory or inflammatory chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Symptoms of chronic prostatitis include:

  • painful ejaculation;
  • constant urge to urinate;
  • lower abdomen pain;
  • pain above the pubic area, in the lower back, or between the anus and testicles;
  • a feeling as if the bladder is not completely emptied after urination;
  • difficulty starting urination;
  • burning pain when urinating.

Dosage

It is available in the following dosage forms – tablet, extended release, and suspension. The recommended adult dosage is 1 tablet 3 times per day. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg a day.

Important note – this muscle relaxant is not intended to be used for longer than three weeks at a time. If the condition being treated has not improved during this time, talk with your doctor about the most appropriate way to proceed.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • dizziness;
  • dry mouth;
  • fatigue;
  • headaches.

Less common side effects may include:

  • blurry vision;
  • pain in the abdomen;
  • rash or hives;
  • nausea;
  • ringing in the ears;
  • acid reflux or heartburn;
  • sudden lack of coordination;
  • constipation;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • confusion;
  • changes in skin color;
  • fainting;
  • swelling, particularly in the tongue;
  • unusual dreams or nightmares;
  • mood swings or depression;
  • a bad taste in the mouth;
  • nervousness.
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Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It has been classified as Pregnancy Category B by the FDA. If you are pregnant or plan to fall pregnant, consult your healthcare provider before using this muscle relaxant.

Additionally, avoid the medication if you are breastfeeding a baby since it passes into breast milk and may negatively affect the infant.

Alcohol

You should not drink alcoholic beverages while taking this muscle relaxant since this combination slows your thinking and reaction time. Also, alcohol increases the risk of side effects.

Xanax

drug
Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/deanslife/1270344046

It is the brand name of a medication called alprazolam, that belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.

This medication acts on the nerves and brain in order to produce a calming effect by enhancing the effects of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid).

This benzodiazepine is the single most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. It is manufactured by Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical corporation, and it was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1981.

Uses

It is used to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorders.

Dosage

This medication is available in various forms, including as an extended-release tablet, liquid, tablets, and disintegrating tablets. It is taken 2 to 4 times per day.

Important note – this benzodiazepine acts quickly in the body with most of the effects occurring within the first hour of use. Also, it has not been proven safe or effective in children under 18.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • being forgetful;
  • drowsiness;
  • lack of appetite;
  • unusual tiredness;
  • clumsiness;
  • problems sleeping.

Less common side effects may include:

  • discouragement;
  • unsteadiness;
  • irritability;
  • a difficulty with coordination;
  • unsteady walk;
  • changes in rhythms of speech;
  • problems concentrating;
  • feeling sad;
  • problems performing routine tasks;
  • slurred speech;
  • loss of pleasure;
  • lightheadedness.
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Alcohol

Do not drink alcohol while taking this benzodiazepine since alcohol can worsen the side effects of this medication.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

This benzodiazepine is not safe to use while breastfeeding because taking it while nursing can cause harmful side effects to the nursing infant.

More importantly, this medication may cause birth defects, especially if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Addiction

This medication may be habit-forming and its use may lead to addiction, overdose, or death. Abuse can become an addiction when you:

  • begin to crave for this benzodiazepine;
  • cannot stop taking this medication;
  • take this benzodiazepine for recreational purposes or non-medical;
  • continue to take the drug despite negative consequences.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • sleep medications, like – Unisom, Lunesta, Rozerem, Sonata, Ambien CR, or Zolpimist;
  • antifungal drugs, such as – Sporanox or Nizoral;
  • antidepressants, like – Asendin, Elavil, Etrafon, Norpramin, Prozac, or Zoloft;
  • other antifungals, like – Diflucan (fluconazole), Noxafil, Oravig, and Vfend;
  • anesthetics;
  • other benzodiazepines, like – Librium, Tranxene, Librax, Klonopin, Dalmane, Ativan, Versed, Restoril, or Serax;
  • antihistamines;
  • benazepril;
  • barbiturates, like – Amytal, Fioricet, or Solfoton;
  • Cordarone or Pacerone (amiodarone);
  • antipsychotics, like – Saphris, Abilify, Haldol, Fanapt, or Latuda;
  • birth control pills;
  • narcotic medication, like – Lortab, Stadol, Vicodin, Kadian, Dolophine, Methadose, or Darvocet;
  • Dilacor, Cardizem, or Tiazac (diltiazem);
  • antiseizure medications, like – Carbatrol, Depakote, Tegretol, Depakene, or Mysoline;
  • ergotamines, such as – Cafatine, Wigraine, Cafergot;
  • HIV and AIDS medicine, like – Reyataz, Sustiva, Rescriptor, Atripla, Viramune, Viracept, Invirase, or Kaletra;
  • Cortastat, Solurex, Dexasone, or DexPak (dexamethasone);
  • sedating allergy medications, like – Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, or Atarax;
  • St. John’s Wort;
  • antibiotics, like – Biaxin, erythromycin, Priftin, Mycobutin, and Ketek;
  • Theo-24 or Uniphyl (theophylline);
  • Gengraf or Sandimmune (cyclosporine);
  • certain medications which decrease stomach acid;
  • Quin-G (it is used to treat malaria and abnormal heart rhythms);
  • Adalat or Procardia (nifedipine).
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Bottom Line – Cyclobenzaprine vs Xanax

Cyclobenzaprine (brand name – Flexeril) is a skeletal muscle relaxant that works by blocking nerve impulses which are sent to the brain. It is used along with rest and physical therapy to treat muscle spasms with pain or injury.

Xanax (active ingredient – alprazolam) is a medication that works by increasing the amount of GABA, a neurotransmitter which promotes a relaxed feeling and calmness.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1463502/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947648/
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xanax_2_mg.jpg

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