Methocarbamol is a prescription medication that’s sold under the brand name Robaxin. It’s used to treat muscle spasticity, which can be caused by neurological disorders and injuries to the neck or spine. Methocarbamol can be a helpful way to relieve painful muscle tension in people that are recovering from injuries and people with chronic conditions. The drug can be used as a supplement to physical therapy, relaxing muscles to help avoid pain during treatment.
Methocarbamol is one of several drugs that work to slow down the nervous system in a way that relaxes muscles and suppresses reflexes that may cause spasms. It’s not a benzodiazepine, but it can be used to treat some of the same issues that some benzos are. It offers an alternative to benzos and opioids when it comes to muscle relaxation and pain relief. It may have fewer negative side effects than those other options, but it can cause some adverse effects, especially when it’s abused or taken in high doses.
Common Side Effects of Methocarbamol
Like other drugs that work to slow the nervous system, methocarbamol can have an effect on other functions, which may be unpleasant. Most of the common side effects are mild and well-tolerated, but if adverse effects are persistent or severe, you should speak to your doctor. When taking any prescription medication, you may need to work with your doctor to adjust the dose to get the benefits while managing side effects. Common side effects may include:
- Ataxia (clumsiness)
It’s also possible to develop a fever and experience excessive sweating in some cases. More serious common side effects can include changes in heart rate and blood pressure. It’s important to monitor these side effects, especially if you are prone to heart-related issues or hypertension. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or if you faint, speak to your doctor.
Less Common Severe Side Effects
Methocarbamol is relatively safe and well-tolerated, but it can also cause some severe side effects in some cases. If you experience any of the following adverse reactions, let your doctor know as soon as possible. Severe side effects may include:
- Severe rash
- Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble urinating
- Signs of infection
In high doses, methocarbamol can cause something called dysphoria, which is the uneasy feeling that something is wrong. This can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. If you begin to have thoughts of death or suicide, speak to a professional.
Methocarbamol and Your Liver
Muscle relaxers like methocarbamol can be hard on your liver. If it’s taken for short term therapeutic treatment, it may not cause any problems. But if it’s abused or used for too long, it can start to cause some damage. It’s common for people that are going through methocarbamol treatment to have their livers monitored periodically. If you start to see yellowing skin or eyes, it’s important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Liver damage may be more likely if you mix methocarbamol with other substances like alcohol.