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Is Zanaflex addictive? If so, does a patient require specific orders from doc for withdrawal?

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DzooBaby 24 Aug 2011

Any drug can be psychologically addictive and many cause physical dependence. Zanaflex can cause rebound symptoms when the drug is withdrawn. Here is what the literature says about dependence:

Abuse potential was not evaluated in human studies. Rats were able to distinguish tizanidine from saline in a standard discrimination paradigm, after training, but failed to generalize the effects of morphine, cocaine, diazepam, or phenobarbital to tizanidine. Monkeys were shown to self-administer tizanidine in a dose-dependent manner, and abrupt cessation of tizanidine produced transient signs of withdrawal at doses > 35 times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis. These transient withdrawal signs (increased locomotion, body twitching, and aversive behavior toward the observer) were not reversed by naloxone administration. Tizanidine is closely related to clonidine, which is often abused in combination with narcotics and is known to cause symptoms of rebound upon abrupt withdrawal. Three cases of rebound symptoms on sudden withdrawal of tizanidine have been reported. The case reports suggest that these patients were also misusing narcotics. Withdrawal symptoms included hypertension, tachycardia, hypertonia, tremor, and anxiety. As with clonidine, withdrawal is expected to be more likely in cases where high doses are used, especially for prolonged periods. If therapy needs to be discontinued, particularly in patients who have been receiving high doses for long periods, the dose should be decreased slowly to minimize the risk of withdrawal and rebound hypertension, tachycardia, and hypertonia.
Patients should be advised not to stop tizanidine suddenly as rebound hypertension and tachycardia may occur.

You will probably want to ask the Dr or pharmacist about reducing or tapering the drug prior to discontinuing.

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