What is methocarbamol?
Methocarbamol isn’t a narcotic. It’s a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and muscle relaxant used to treat muscle spasms, tension, and pain. It may be mistaken for a narcotic due to side effects like drowsiness and dizziness, which can feel like a drug “high.”
Read on to learn more about its uses, dosage, and side effects.
Methocarbamol is used to relieve short-term (acute) pain and stiffness caused by injury. This includes strains, sprains, and fractures.
It may be prescribed alongside physical therapy or other forms of treatment.
Methocarbamol is sold in tablet form, including both generic and brand name (Robaxin) versions. It’s only available with a prescription.
In clinical settings, it may be administered through an intravenous (IV).
Is it used for animals?
Methocarbamol is also used to treat muscle injuries and inflammation in animals. It may also be useful for treating seizures and muscle spasms associated with the ingestion of a toxic substance in cats and dogs.
It’s only available through a prescription from a veterinarian.
Methocarbamol is considered a supplementary medication in the treatment of opioid or opiate withdrawal. It targets specific symptoms, such as muscle cramps and spasms.
Also, although anecdotal reports exist, there isn’t any recent research investigating the effectiveness of using methocarbamol alone to treat opioid withdrawal.
Methocarbamol dosage depends on a variety of factors. You should always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when taking this medication.
Methocarbamol is available in 500- and 750-milligram (mg) tablets. For adults with muscle stiffness, the typical dosage is 1,500 mg, four times daily. That’s three 500 mg tablets four times per day or two 750 mg tablets four times per day.
Research assessing the effects of methocarbamol among children under 16 years is limited. If your child has been prescribed methocarbamol, follow the dosage instructions from your doctor.
Some of the most common side effects of oral methocarbamol include:
- blurred vision
Some of these side effects are similar to those of certain narcotic pain drugs.
Methocarbamol can interact with other substances in your system:
- It may limit the effectiveness of pyridostigmine bromide, a drug used to treat myasthenia gravis.
- Methocarbamol can also increase drowsiness and other sedative effects when taken with other CNS depressants. These include:
- prescription painkillers and narcotics
- cough and cold medication
- allergy medication (antihistamines)
- anti-anxiety drugs
- antiseizure drugs
- sleeping pills
- illicit substances
Make a list to share with your doctor or pharmacist of all the substances you take. Be sure to include over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as vitamins, supplements, and herbal products.
Methocarbamol tablets contain inactive ingredients. You should always tell your healthcare provider about any allergies or other underlying conditions you have.
Methocarbamol can cause side effects that make it dangerous to drive or operate machinery, especially when combined with alcohol or marijuana.
Older adults might be more sensitive to the side effects of methocarbamol.
You shouldn’t take methocarbamol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
It’s not known if methocarbamol affects human breast milk. Tests indicate it’s present in animal milk, so be cautious and discuss with a doctor before breastfeeding.
Methocarbamol isn’t addictive when used according to a doctor’s instructions. At higher doses, it has increased potential for abuse, especially among people who have a history of narcotic abuse.
However, methocarbamol doesn’t have the same properties as a narcotic:
- It doesn’t relieve generalized pain.
- It doesn’t produce a sense of euphoria or a “high.”
Higher doses also carry an increased risk of undesirable side effects, including drowsiness and dizziness. Given these characteristics, it has a relatively low potential for abuse.
It’s possible to overdose on methocarbamol. Reports suggest overdose is more likely when methocarbamol is used alongside alcohol or other sedative drugs.
Signs of overdose include:
- severe drowsiness
- severe dizziness
- loss of consciousness
- difficulty breathing
- shaking on one side of the body
If you suspect an overdose
- If you or someone you know may have overdosed, seek emergency care right away. Don’t wait until the symptoms get worse. If you’re in the United States, call either 911 or poison control at 800-222-1222. Otherwise, call your local emergency number.
- Stay on the line and wait for instructions. If possible, have the following information ready to tell the person on the phone:
- • the person’s age, height, and weight
- • the amount taken
- • how long it’s been since the last dose was taken
- • if the person has recently taken any medication or other drugs, supplements, herbs, or alcohol
- • if the person has any underlying medical conditions
- Try to stay calm and keep the person awake while you wait for emergency personnel. Don’t try to make them vomit unless a professional tells you to.
- You can also receive guidance from this online tool from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Methocarbamol isn’t a narcotic, although some of its effects are similar to those of narcotics. Unlike narcotics, methocarbamol isn’t addictive.
You should speak to a doctor or other healthcare provider if you experience unusual or severe side effects while taking methocarbamol.
If you use methocarbamol recreationally, let your doctor know. This allows them to monitor your overall health and help prevent serious side effects or drug interactions.