Tizanidine is a muscle relaxer prescribed to treat specific multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. It is also prescribed to treat stroke, brain, and spinal injuries, according to MedlinePlus.
Though Tizanidine is a legitimate medication, it is also a substance of abuse. It is popular among recreational users who take the drug to intensify the effects of alcohol and vice-versa.
By itself, Tizanidine causes profound sedation and liver damage. Its use can also lead to a fatal overdose. When mixed with alcohol, the disastrous effects of this combo are even worse. Sedation is the least of your worries.
Mixing these two substances can cause dizziness, fainting, and changes to your heart rate. Most of all, Tizanidine and alcohol can kill you.
Learn more about why you should steer clear of these substances. You can also find out more about available treatment solutions if you or a loved one is caught up in this type of abuse.
What is Tizanidine?
Tizanidine is the brand name for Zanaflex. It is part of the skeletal muscle relaxant class.
This short-acting medicine is rarely prescribed. When it is not used to treat spasms and increased muscle tone from MS, it is sometimes prescribed for chronic migraines and fibromyalgia symptoms. It is even prescribed off-label as a sleep drug.
Tizanidine is available as a capsule or tablet. Plus, users are instructed not to exceed 16 milligrams (mg) in a single dose and 36 mg in 24 hours, according to Drugs.com.
Tizanidine works by blocking the pain sensations sent to the brain, according to eMedicineHealth.com. This action produces a relaxed state. Users also report that the medication imparts a high that is similar to narcotics.
People who exceed the recommended single and daily dose limits get that effect. When they manipulate the drug by crushing it into a powder and snorting it for a stronger, more immediate impact, they engage in a recreational use pattern that can quickly bloom into addiction.
Tizanidine Side Effects
Tizanidine, alone, is capable of causing common and severe side effects. According to MedlinePlus, common side effects of this medication include:
- Back pain
- Tingling in legs, feet, hands, and arms
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Increased muscle spasms
Tizanidine Has Severe and Life-Threatening Side Effects that Include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Stomach pain in the upper right part
- Flu-like symptoms
- Seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist
- Slow heartbeat
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Lack of energy
- Appetite loss
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Changes in vision
It’s also worth noting that Tizanidine can cause liver damage, according to Healthline. The symptoms of liver damage include increased bleeding or bruising and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
The Dangers of Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the most toxic substances you can put into your body. While social drinking can produce little harm, out-of-control alcohol use damages the brain and body.
Not only does alcohol cause your blood pressure to rise, but it can also increase the size of your heart and cause it to beat abnormally.
The liver is profoundly damaged by alcohol since it has to process most of it when it enters your body.
Heavy drinking can cause cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the liver, among other damaging effects.
Tizanidine and Alcohol
Alcohol also increases the overall amount of Tizanidine in the bloodstream after a dose, according to Rxlist.com. Alcohol’s presence can increase the severity of the drug’s side effects.
What’s more, when you mix both medications, it can lead to Tizanidine overdose, which, by itself, causes trouble breathing, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, and pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin.
The most severe, life-threatening overdose effects are a loss of consciousness and shallow breathing.
When one Reddit user posted that they took seven shots of rum and 4 mg of tizanidine, a fellow poster responded with this message: “….you’re gonna be twice as drunk and twice as sedated from the muscle relaxers…if you’re just chilling and you physically notice [your] breathing [is] getting really slow…call someone you know will come or call 911. it seems extreme but it’s better safe than sorry. not saying you’re gonna just drop dead but it has some nasty side effects. hope everything turns out all right.”
Plus, separately, both substances can profoundly damage the liver, which can also lead to death. When alcohol and tizanidine are combined, their ability to inflict severe liver damage is that much greater.
The only way to halt this pattern of abuse before it’s too late is by seeking professional addiction treatment.
Attempting to quit both on your own is not recommended. Why?
“Both substances produce harmful, life-threatening effects that are managed best under professional medical care and supervision. ”
Mixing Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol
There are critical reasons why mixing muscle relaxers and alcohol should not be done. Both depress your central nervous system. Both will slow brain activity, which can also slow respiratory function and heart rate. Both can make you feel twice as drowsy. When you mix these two substances simultaneously, you are intensifying their effects on your system, with potentially dangerous or fatal results.
Here’s what to expect when you combine muscle relaxers and alcohol, as noted on Healthline:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Increased drowsiness
- Reduced coordination or motor control
- Slowed breathing
- Memory problems
- Increased overdose risk
- Increased seizure risk
What if you have already drunk alcohol when taking a muscle relaxer? What do you need to know or do? First, stop drinking immediately. Second, note the effects the combination is having on your system and how you feel. Are you experiencing any of these signs?
- You feel nauseous or have vomited.
- You feel extremely tired.
- Your breathing has slowed dramatically.
- You feel very weak.
- Your coordination is severely impacted.
- Your heart is beating rapidly or too slowly.
- You seem to be confused.
- You experience a seizure.
If you experience any of the above signs of mixing alcohol and a muscle relaxer, dial 9-1-1 and ask for help. It’s not worth the risk of your life to wait it out and see if you feel better later.
There are other tizanidine interactions to know. Certain prescription medicines should not be taken with tizanidine due to the possibility of a negative interaction. These are:
- Opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin
- Benzodiazepines, like Xanax and Valium
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), including Marplan, Nardil, Emsam, and Parnate
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) under brand names Elavil, Anafranil, Sinequan, and others
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include the ingredient fluvoxamine and their name brands of Prozac, Luvox, Sarafem, Luvox CR, Prozac Weekly, and Selfemra, as indicated on Drugs.com. Also, avoid taking ciprofloxacin (Cipro).
What Is a Tizanidine Lethal Dose?
Tizanidine is a prescription drug and is usually prescribed starting at two milligrams. The drug’s effects will peak in about one to two hours after the first dose and dissipate between three to six hours. Patients taking this medication are warned not to take more than three doses in 24 hours. The total daily dose amount should never exceed 36 mg, but only once the prescribing doctor has been contacted. Also, it is essential to know that tizanidine is eliminated from the body in about 2.5 hours.
What does this have to do with a tizanidine lethal dose? A daily total dose amount of 60 mg to 120 mg can result in a coma for the individual using too much of it, as a medical study reported. Those who do take too much of it are probably in a great deal of pain and want to relieve it.
Those who abuse tizanidine to get high will experience the signs of abuse, and they may be observed by others near them. These signs are:
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Vision problems
These are clear signs of muscle relaxer abuse, and the prescribing medical provider should be notified immediately.
You may be wondering if you can die from tizanidine. The answer is yes, you can. If you take too much of this drug throughout the day, or at once, or when drinking too much alcohol, the possibility of a tizanidine death is a risk. As mentioned previously, when you consume too much of this substance, the possibility of going into a coma is also present. If you are taking a large dose of tizanidine to get high, you are not only at risk of becoming addicted to it but risking your life.
Why Professional Treatment Can Help You
Mixing a muscle relaxer with alcohol is polysubstance abuse. Simultaneous abuse of both substances requires the highest form of intervention available through professional addiction treatment.
A reputable program will start you off with medical detox, where the alcohol and tizanidine are removed from your body, and the withdrawal symptoms are treated with approved medications.
You will be given a health assessment to determine if you have any medical needs, and you will be supervised throughout to ensure a safe and secure detox.
Once you have been physically and mentally stabilized through detox, you may be recommended for residential treatment.
A residential program offers a range of therapy and care aimed at addressing the mental and emotional aspects of your substance abuse.
As the name suggests, you will stay at the facility while you receive treatment in a full-time program of care.
For such severe, life-threatening cases of substance abuse, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a residential stay of 90 days or more. A visit this long has been proven effective in helping clients remain sober.
Once residential treatment is completed, you can get part-time therapy and care through outpatient.
In this type of program, you can live independently at home or in a sober living community.
You will also be taught essential life skills in outpatient that allow you to transition back into everyday life once treatment ends.
When people in recovery get connected to a community after treatment, it increases their chances of achieving sustained sobriety.
This is why we offer relapse prevention. Relapse prevention provides you with a community that offers support, inspiration, and mentorship. Groups such as these can help you avoid relapse.