Carisoprodol (Oral)

Carisoprodol is used to provide pain relief for patients with acute bone or muscle conditions.

Overview

Carisoprodol a skeletal muscle relaxant that is used to treat a range of acute muscle and bone ailments. The drug is generally used in combination with remedial therapy in the form of rest, physiotherapy, and controlled exercise under the direction of your doctor.

Carisoprodol works by acting on the body's central nervous system, causing muscle relaxation, easing tightness and alleviating the pain that it causes.

Carisoprodol is sold in the US under the brand names Soma and Vanadom, and is only available on prescription from your doctor. The medication comes in tablet form.

Conditions treated

  • muscle and bone conditions

Type of medicine

  • skeletal muscle relaxant
  • tablet

Side effects

The use of carisoprodol is designed to control the symptoms of bone and muscle pain. Some patients do report a few unwanted side effects while taking this drug. Before you begin using carisoprodol, you should inform your doctor about any allergic reactions that you have noticed while taking any other medicines. You must also mention any health problems you have suffered from or allergies that you have noted when taking non-prescription products, including herbal preparations or vitamin supplements.

Note that some drugs can contain animal products, preservatives or dyes. Tell your doctor if you are aware of any allergies that you may have to any of these.

The side effects outlined below sometimes affect patients taking carisoprodol. However, you should be aware that this list is not all-inclusive. If you suffer any other side effects or if you begin to feel unwell during your course of treatment with this drug, you must tell your doctor without delay.

Some of the less commonly experienced side effects that have been reported by people taking this medication include:

  • feeling tired or weak
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • swollen glands
  • loss of consciousness
  • white spots, sores, or ulcers on the lips or in the mouth
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • painful or difficult urination
  • muscle spasm or jerking of extremities
  • loss of bladder control
  • fever
  • pounding, fast, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • dizziness, faintness, or feeling lightheaded when rising suddenly from a lying or seated position
  • cough
  • convulsions
  • confusion
  • cold sweats
  • chills
  • chest pain
  • black, tarry stools

If you accidentally overdose on carisoprodol, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • uncontrolled twisting movements of the neck, trunk, legs, or arms
  • uncontrolled eye movements
  • trouble with speaking or swallowing
  • sticking out the tongue
  • muscle stiffness or tightness
  • irregular or shallow breathing
  • increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
  • increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid
  • inability to move the eyes
  • holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
  • headache
  • hallucinations
  • dilated, or enlarged pupils
  • cyanosis
  • confusion as to time, place, or person
  • change in consciousness
  • breathing difficulties
  • blurred vision
  • a false or unusual sense of well-being
  • weakness of the arms and legs
  • unusual nervousness, excitement, or restlessness
  • unusual facial expressions

Some of the side effects that patients taking carisoprodol experience do not usually need further medical treatment. These effects often self-resolve during treatment, when the body becomes acclimatized to the new medication. Your treating physician will give you advice on how you can overcome the worst of any side effects you are experiencing. If you have any questions or concerns about your new medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

One common side effect that is often reported by patients taking carisoprodol is drowsiness.

There are other side effects that are reported much less commonly, and these include:

  • vomiting
  • sleeplessness
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • sensation of spinning
  • restlessness
  • redness to face
  • problems with muscle control, unsteadiness, trembling, or other coordination
  • pain or discomfort in the upper stomach, chest, or throat
  • numbness of the hands, feet, and area around the mouth
  • nervousness
  • nausea
  • irritability
  • heartburn
  • fainting feeling of constant movement of surroundings or self
  • face is warm or hot to touch
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • deep or fast breathing
  • anxiety

If you notice any other side effects that are not mentioned above, you should ask your doctor or specialist for advice.

Dosage

The dose of carisoprodol that is recommended will probably vary between patients. You should always take your medicine exactly as instructed by your treating physician or refer to the instructions on the prescription label.

The dosage guidelines given below are solely based on the average prescribed. The dose that your doctor instructs you to take may depend on a number of things, including your condition, the strength of the medicine, and how your body responds to the medication. The dose that you are required to take each day and the frequency of your daily doses may also vary. If you are prescribed a different dose from that given below, do not change it unless you are instructed otherwise by your doctor.

Carisoprodol for relaxing muscles

  • Adults and children over 16 years old: 250 mg to 350 mg to be taken three times daily and one further dose at bedtime.
  • Children up to 16 years of age: Take the drug as told to by your GP.

This medication can be taken with or without food. Ideally, you should swallow the tablets in one piece. Do not chew or crush the tablets.

In the event that you miss one of your scheduled doses of this medication, take the dose as soon as possible. If it is close to the scheduled time of your next dose, omit the one you missed and revert to your normal dosage schedule. Do not take a double-dose.

In the case of an overdose, or if the patient develops breathing difficulties or loses consciousness, you should call 911 immediately. If an overdose occurs but no serious side effects are initially evident, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Major drug interactions

Although there are some medicines that should not be used together, there are sometimes cases where it is necessary to use a combination of different drugs, even though an interaction may occur. If this applies to you, your doctor may adjust the dose of one or more of your prescribed drugs or suggest a course of action to help mitigate any negative effects or interactions.

If you are prescribed carisoprodol and you are already taking another form of medication, tell your doctor straight away. Be sure to mention herbal preparations, vitamin supplements, and over-the-counter medicines. Some foodstuffs should be avoided when you are taking certain drugs. In addition, some medication can have a bad interaction with alcohol and tobacco. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor before you begin taking carisoprodol.

Using carisoprodol with the following drugs is not recommended. However, your GP could decide otherwise for your treatment. If two drugs are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or frequency of one or more of them:

  • Zolpidem
  • Triazolam
  • Tramadol
  • Tiotropium
  • Thiopental
  • Temazepam
  • Tapentadol
  • Sufentanil
  • Sodium Oxybate
  • Secobarbital
  • Remifentanil
  • Quazepam
  • Propoxyphene
  • Primidone
  • Prazepam
  • Phenobarbital
  • Periciazine
  • Pentobarbital
  • Pentazocine
  • Oxymorphone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxazepam
  • Nitrazepam
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Morphine
  • Midazolam
  • Methohexital
  • Methocarbamol
  • Methadone
  • Metaxalone
  • Meprobamate
  • Mephobarbital
  • Mephenesin
  • Meperidine
  • Medazepam
  • Lormetazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Levorphanol
  • Ketazolam
  • Hydromorphone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Halazepam
  • Flurazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Flibanserin
  • Fentanyl
  • Ethchlorvynol
  • Estazolam
  • Eslicarbazepine Acetate
  • Doxylamine
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Diazepam
  • Dantrolene
  • Codeine
  • Clorazepate
  • Clonazepam
  • Clobazam
  • Chlorzoxazone
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Carisoprodol
  • Butorphanol
  • Butalbital
  • Butabarbital
  • Buprenorphine
  • Bromazepam
  • Aprobarbital
  • Anileridine
  • Amobarbital
  • Alprazolam
  • Alfentanil

Warnings

You must take carisoprodol exactly as instructed by your doctor. Do not increase the dose or take the medication more often than you have been told to. If you overdose on this medication, its side effects may be increased.

Some existing medical conditions can affect the use of this medication. Tell your doctor about any existing health conditions that you have and discuss your medical history fully, before you start taking carisoprodol.

Carisoprodol should be used with caution in patients where a history of drug use or drug dependence has been reported. Carisoprodol may cause dependency in vulnerable individuals.

Carisoprodol should be used with caution in patients who have a history of kidney or liver disease. This is because the effects of the medication may be increased due to the slower removal of the drug from the body. Caution should be exercised when prescribing this medication to elderly patients who are more likely to have kidney or liver problems.

Carisoprodol should not be used in patients with a history of enzyme problems (porphyria), as the medication can make these conditions worse.

Carisoprodol should not be used in patients with a history of seizures. Using this medication with these patients can cause their condition to become worse.

This medication should be used with caution in elderly patients who may be more sensitive to its side effects of confusion and drowsiness, which could lead to an increased risk of falling.

Do not use carisoprodol during the first three months of pregnancy as it can harm the fetus. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, and also if you think that you may have become pregnant during the course of your treatment. The medication should only be used when absolutely necessary during the last six months of pregnancy, and you should discuss the risks and potential benefits of using carisoprodol with your treating physician.

Carisoprodol can be passed into breast milk and could result in side effects to a nursing infant. To be on the safe side you should discontinue breastfeeding for the duration of your treatment and for two weeks immediately afterwards to allow sufficient time for the drug to leave your body. During this time, you should use a suitable baby formula, and your midwife will give you more advice on this. Do not express breast milk for storage and future use.

Throughout the course of your treatment with this drug you should attend regular updates and check-ups with your doctor. These appointments will give your doctor the opportunity to make sure that the drug is working effectively. You will also have the opportunity to voice any concerns that you may have concerning any side effects that you may be suffering from.

Patients taking carisoprodol sometimes find that they feel drowsy, dizzy, or not as bright as they would do ordinarily. If the medication affects you in this way, avoid driving, operating machinery, or undertaking any potentially dangerous activity that requires you to be fully alert, until this effect has passed you are no longer taking the drug.

Carisoprodol can exacerbate the effects of central nervous system depressants and alcohol, which can lead to feelings of drowsiness. While you are taking this drug, you should avoid taking any of the following over-the-counter medicines:

  • tranquilizers
  • sleeping drugs
  • prescribed medication for pain
  • narcotics
  • seizure medicine
  • allergy or hay fever medication
  • cold remedies
  • barbiturates
  • antihistamines
  • local and general anesthetics
  • dental anesthetics

You must tell your doctor, pharmacist, or dentist if you are taking carisoprodol before using any of the above.

Never stop taking your prescribed medication abruptly, without first consulting your doctor. If you have been using carisoprodol regularly and for a long time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, headaches, stomach cramps, and nausea. If you are ceasing treatment with this medication, your doctor may suggest steadily decreasing your dose of carisoprodol, before you stop taking the drug altogether.

If you do not think that your condition has improved within two weeks of starting your treatment with this medication, talk to your doctor. It is important that you do not use this medication for more than three weeks to treat pain, unless your GP tells you to.

Storage

Always keep carisoprodol in a sealed, airtight container. Do not freeze or refrigerate this medication.

Do not leave your tablets where they could be exposed to direct sunlight, heat or moisture.

Keep your supply of carisoprodol safely out of reach of young children and pets. In the event that a pet does consume any of your tablets, you must seek veterinary advice immediately.

Do not use carisoprodol tablets that are no longer in-date or the packet is already open.

Do not flush any leftover tablets down the toilet, throw them down the drain, or put them out with your garbage, where they could be found and mistaken for candy, and eaten by children or pets.

Summary

Carisoprodol is used to manage the symptoms of certain acute bone or muscle conditions. Carisoprodol is a skeletal muscle relaxant, which is most effective when used in combination with rest, physiotherapy, controlled exercise, and with certain other remedial therapies, as recommended by your doctor or treating medical specialist.

Carisoprodol works by acting on the body's central nervous system in order to relax the muscles, relieving the tightness and tension that causes discomfort and pain.

Carisoprodol is a highly effective treatment when used correctly and as instructed by your doctor. However, it is very important that you work closely with your treating physician during the course of your treatment in order to find the appropriate dose and frequency of use for the drug. It is not recommended that this medication is used with a wide variety of existing or historical health conditions, prescription, and over-the-counter medicines so you must be prepared to disclose anything of relevance to your doctor before you begin taking this medication.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018