Highlighting the side effects of muscle relaxants

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Side effects are problems that occur when treatment goes beyond thedesired effect or problems that occur in addition to the desiredtherapeutic effect.

When side effects of necessary medication are severe, sometimes asecond medication, lifestyle change, dietary change, or othermeasure may help to minimize them. Drug manufacturers are requiredto list all known side effects of their products.

Fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss,and mouth sores are instances of side effects of cancer treatmentthat occur in addition to the desired therapeutic effect. Ahemorrhage from the use of too much anticoagulant (such as heparin)is a side effect caused by treatment going beyond the desiredeffect. As with all drugs, some people react badly toantidepressants, while side effects can seem quite mild in others.

The irony here of course is that, helpful as antidepressants may befor some people at some times, these side effects can be verydepressing in themselves.

Because no one antidepressant has been proven to be any moreeffective than any other, the choice of which drug to prescribeoften rests on their different side effects.

Drowsiness or dizziness, possible addiction or dependence, drymouth or urinary retention are some of the possible side effects ofmuscle relaxants.

Muscle relaxants are often prescribed in the treatment of acute lowback pain in an attempt to improve the initial limitations in rangeof motion from muscle spasm and to interrupt the pain-spasm-paincycle. Limiting muscle spasm and improving range of motion willprepare the patient for therapeutic exercise. Muscle relaxants workby acting on the central nervous system. In the United States, theyare available only with a physician’s prescription. Some musclerelaxants are available in Canada without a prescription. Most comeonly in tablet form. However, methocarbamol (Robaxin) is availablein both tablet and injectable forms. Examples of muscle relaxantsare carisoprodol (Soma), chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte DSC),cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), and methocarbamol (Robaxin).

Muscle relaxants are usually prescribed along with rest, exercise,physical therapy, or other treatments. Although the drugs mayprovide relief, they should never be considered a substitute forthese other forms of treatment. These drugs may make the injuryfeel so much better that one is tempted to go back to normalactivity, but doing too much too soon can actually make the injuryworse.

Other common side effects or muscle relaxants are vision changes,such as double vision or blurred vision; lightheadedness;drowsiness; and dry mouth. These problems usually go away as thebody adjusts to the drug and do not require medical treatment.

Side-effects of muscle relaxants increase the symptom that the drugwas supposed to control. This may lead people to take ever more ofa symptom-producing drug in an effort to control that symptom.

Muscle relaxants may interact with some other medicines. When thishappens, the effects of one or both of the drugs may change or therisk of side effects of muscle relaxants may be greater. Anyone whoplans to take muscle relaxants should let the physician know allother medicines, including over-the-counter or nonprescriptionmedicines, that he or she is taking.

Every medication contains chemicals that may cause side effects.

Some side effects are physical, such as nausea or blurred vision,and some side effects affect mood and emotions. If someone has amental disorder, why not check if medications cause the symptoms.

List what medications are taken, and compare the medication historyto the symptom history. Ask medical professionals about the sideeffects of any drugs that they prescribe for you or your family.

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