If you’re a gym enthusiast or frequently lift weights, you’ve likely experienced the pain associated with muscle strain. Intense muscle strain and discomfort can inhibit your participation in regular activities. In some cases, you might see your doctor to discuss prescriptions to help you manage muscle strain and prevent muscle spasms in the short term, giving you some relief while you rest and attend physical therapy. One potential prescription is cyclobenzaprine, a short-term drug for muscle relaxation.

When cyclobenzaprine isn’t used as prescribed by a doctor, abuse and addiction can occur. Below, learn about the cyclobenzaprine high, associated risks and how it affects your body.

What Is Cyclobenzaprine?

Cyclobenzaprine is an oral prescription drug that’s intended for short-term use. Cyclobenzaprine acts a muscle relaxant and can be used to treat musculoskeletal conditions that result in muscle spasms. It’s also prescribed when patients have strained muscles through physical activity and need immediate relief. It’s sold under the brand names Flexeril and Amrix in the United States. The drug acts on the central nervous system — specifically, on the brain, rather than the spinal cord.

Cyclobenzaprine is most effective when used alongside other treatment methods like physical therapy and rest to promote muscle relaxation and restoration following a muscle strain. It’s critical that patients follow the dosage prescribed by their physician because there’s a risk of overdose if cyclobenzaprine is taken in excess. The drug resulted in four deaths in the United States in 2016, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

The drug shouldn’t be taken for more than 2 to 3 weeks at a time and can result in some common side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth

If you’re prescribed cyclobenzaprine by your doctor and experience side effects that interfere with your daily life, contact the physician.

Factors Contributing to Cyclobenzaprine High and Overdose

The immediate effects of cyclobenzaprine typically last from 4 to 6 hours after oral consumption of the medication. However, cyclobenzaprine, even the immediate-release formulation, has a half-life of 18 hours. Extended-release forms of the drug remain in your system for up to 37 hours. This means that people abusing a cyclobenzaprine high can be affected for a prolonged period. In fact, Flexeril is detectable in a urine sample for several days after consumption.

When a person has too much cyclobenzaprine in their system, most likely due to taking more than the prescribed dosage, serious side effects can occur. These include:

  • Seizure
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Death

The risk of serious side effects and overdose from cyclobenzaprine increases when dangerous drug interactions occur. Patients should tell their doctors about any other prescriptions they’re taking before ingesting a muscle relaxant like cyclobenzaprine. Specifically, monoamine oxidase (MOA) inhibitors such as isocarboxazid, linezolid and phenelzine (to name just a few) are antidepressants that shouldn’t be taken in combination with cyclobenzaprine. Other nervous system depressants, like alcohol, should also be avoided.

Can It Get You High?

You may be skeptical about the possibility of a cyclobenzaprine high. Can you get high off muscle relaxer pills? The short answer is yes. One report found that some people were engaging in cyclobenzaprine recreational use, in combination with illicit drugs, in an attempt to experience psychoactive effects. The cyclobenzaprine high users may experience when taking dosages that exceed their prescription can result in feelings of sedation, relaxation or euphoria. These reactions can occur in individuals who either take the drug orally or snort it (ingest it intranasally).

Managing Cyclobenzaprine Use

Cyclobenzaprine is an FDA-approved medication that’s only available with a doctor’s prescription. It’s safe to take the prescribed dosage if your physician recommends it to you. However, it’s important to understand that, like with many muscle relaxants, there are risks associated with not following these recommendations — for example, taking more than the prescribed amount, ignoring severe side effects or consuming other substances in combination with cyclobenzaprine.

Safe Usage of Cyclobenzaprine

It’s necessary to take cyclobenzaprine exactly as directed by your doctor to ensure safe usage.

  • Don’t take any more or less than the prescribed dosage.
  • Don’t crush the extended-release capsules; swallow them whole as directed.
  • If you can’t swallow a whole capsule, consult your doctor.
  • Don’t take the medication longer than 2 to 3 weeks or as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Don’t consume other medications or drugs not approved by your doctor while taking cyclobenzaprine.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Your doctor may warn you of the common side effects associated with taking cyclobenzaprine as a short-term muscle relaxant. If you have a preexisting heart condition, it’s especially important to seek medical attention if you experience unusual side effects from cyclobenzaprine.

Specifically, instances of anxiety, increased heart rate, fever, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, twitching and diarrhea require immediate medical attention. If you’re unsure whether your side effects are considered common, check the packaging of the prescription or consult your doctor and seek medical help.

What If I Develop Drug Dependence?

While Flexeril and its active ingredient, cyclobenzaprine, are considered less addictive than some other muscle relaxants, there is still a potential to abuse it or become dependent on the drug due to the feeling of a cyclobenzaprine high. In fact, approximately 11.5 million Americans reported abusing prescription pain relievers at least once in a 12-month period.

Signs that indicate you or someone you love may have become dependent on cyclobenzaprine are:

  • Being unable to willingly stop cyclobenzaprine usage
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off
  • Taking a higher dosage than the doctor prescribed
  • Consuming cyclobenzaprine in combination with other substances
  • Going to extremes to obtain a prescription (stealing, lying, etc.)

If you or a loved one is exhibiting one or more of these signs of cyclobenzaprine addiction, it might be time to consider professional support. A medical detox can help people with a cyclobenzaprine addiction safely undergo withdrawal in a clinically supervised setting. This is an important step in the process that can last up to 2 weeks after stopping cyclobenzaprine usage.

Professional Help Is Available

Professional treatment programs at Sunlight Recovery are designed to help you or a loved one safely detox from cyclobenzaprine and take back control of your life. We offer outpatient therapy, residential treatment programs and group therapy options to ensure our services meet you exactly where you are. Start the journey to recovery today by contacting our team of compassionate counselors.