Skip to main content

Orphenadrine (Monograph)

Drug class: Skeletal Muscle Relaxants, Miscellaneous
VA class: MS200
CAS number: 341-69-5

Medically reviewed by on Feb 20, 2023. Written by ASHP.


Centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxant.

Uses for Orphenadrine

Muscular Conditions

Used alone or in combination with aspirin and caffeine as an adjunct to rest, physical therapy, and other measures for the relief of discomfort associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions.

If pharmacologic therapy is required for acute low back pain (usually a benign and self-limiting condition ), experts state that an NSAIA or skeletal muscle relaxant may be considered. Skeletal muscle relaxants may provide small improvements in pain relief, but are associated with a high incidence of adverse effects (e.g., CNS effects). Use with caution after weighing risks against benefits.

Various skeletal muscle relaxants appear to have comparable efficacy for low back pain relief.

Orphenadrine Dosage and Administration


Administer orally or by IV or IM injection.

Oral Administration

Administer extended-release tablets orally twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening).

Administer fixed-combination tablets (with aspirin and caffeine) orally 3 or 4 times daily.

IV Administration

Place patient in supine position during and for 5–10 minutes following IV injection. (See CNS Effects under Cautions.) To minimize adverse reactions, assist patient from recumbent position after the drug is administered.

Rate of Administration

Administer IV over about 5 minutes.


Available as orphenadrine citrate; dosage expressed in terms of the salt.


Muscular Conditions
Extended-release Tablets

100 mg twice daily.

Fixed-combination Tablets

25–50 mg (in combination with aspirin 385–770 mg and caffeine 30–60 mg) 3 or 4 times daily.

Parenteral Therapy
IV or IM

60 mg every 12 hours.

Cautions for Orphenadrine


  • Glaucoma.

  • Pyloric or duodenal obstruction.

  • Stenosing peptic ulcers.

  • Prostatic hypertrophy or obstruction of the bladder neck.

  • Cardiospasm (megaesophagus).

  • Myasthenia gravis.

  • Known hypersensitivity to orphenadrine or any ingredient in the formulation.



CNS Effects

Transient episodes of lightheadedness, dizziness, or syncope reported.

Performance of activities requiring mental alertness or physical coordination (e.g., operating machinery, driving a motor vehicle) may be impaired.

Sensitivity Reactions

Sulfite Sensitivity

Injectable formulation contains sodium bisulfite, which can cause allergic-type reactions, including anaphylaxis and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes, in certain susceptible individuals.

Overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population unknown but probably low; such sensitivity appears to occur more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic individuals.

General Precautions

Adequate Patient Monitoring

Safety of continuous therapy not established. Perform periodic blood, urine, and liver function tests during prolonged orphenadrine therapy

Cardiac Effects

Possible tachycardia and palpitation; may be associated with increased dosages. Use with caution in patients with tachycardia, cardiac decompensation, coronary insufficiency, or cardiac arrhythmias.

Use of Fixed Combinations

When orphenadrine is used in fixed combination with aspirin and caffeine, consider the cautions, precautions, and contraindications associated with each agent in the combination.

Specific Populations


Category C.

Not known whether the drug can cause fetal harm or affect reproductive capacity. Use during pregnancy only if potential benefits outweigh potential risks, particularly during early pregnancy.


Not known whether orphenadrine is distributed into milk; use with caution.

Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy not established.

Geriatric Use

Because of risk of injury, skeletal muscle relaxants should generally be avoided in geriatric patients.

Common Adverse Effects

Dry mouth, tachycardia, palpitation, urinary hesitancy or retention, blurred vision, dilatation of pupils, increased intraocular pressure, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, constipation, drowsiness.

Orphenadrine Pharmacokinetics



Readily absorbed following oral administration.



Distribution not fully characterized in humans. In animals, detected in all organs, especially those with greatest perfusion (e.g., lungs).

Orphenadrine may cross the placenta; not known whether distributed into milk.



Almost completely metabolized to at least 8 metabolites; however, metabolic fate not fully determined.

Elimination Route

Eliminated principally in urine as metabolites and, in small amounts, as unchanged drug.


Approximately 14 hours.





20–25°C in tight, light-resistant containers.



20–25°C. Protect from light; do not use if precipitation occurs.


  • Centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxant.

  • Precise mechanism of action not known. Does not directly relax skeletal muscle; therapeutic action may be related to analgesic properties.

  • May reduce skeletal muscle spasm, possibly through an atropine-like central action on cerebral motor centers or on the medulla.

  • Exhibits postganglionic anticholinergic, antihistaminic, and local anesthetic properties.

Advice to Patients

  • Potential to impair mental alertness or physical coordination; use caution when driving or operating machinery until effects on individual are known.

  • Importance of informing clinicians of existing or contemplated concomitant therapy, including prescription and OTC drugs and dietary or herbal supplements, as well as concomitant illnesses.

  • Importance of women informing clinicians if they are or plan to become pregnant or plan to breast-feed.

  • Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)


Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name

Orphenadrine Citrate


Dosage Forms


Brand Names



Tablets, extended-release

100 mg*

Orphenadrine Citrate Extended-release Tablets



30 mg/mL*

Orphenadrine Citrate Injection

* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name

Orphenadrine Citrate Combinations


Dosage Forms


Brand Names




25 mg with Aspirin 385 mg and Caffeine 30 mg*

Orphenadrine Citrate, Aspirin, and Caffeine Tablets

50 mg with Aspirin 770 mg and Caffeine 60 mg*

Orphenadrine Citrate, Aspirin, and Caffeine Tablets

Orphengesic Forte


AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2023, Selected Revisions March 2, 2020. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

Reload page with references included