Methocarbamol: 7 things you should know
Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm Last updated on Nov 6, 2019.
1. How it works
- Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant that may be used in addition to other treatments for the relief of discomfort associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions.
- Experts are not sure how methocarbamol works because it has no direct effect on muscle; however, its effects may be due to its sedative properties or the way it blocks nerve impulses to the brain.
- Methocarbamol belongs to the class of medicines known as muscle relaxants.
- May be used as a muscle relaxant in addition to rest and physical therapy to relieve discomfort associated with acute, painful, musculoskeletal conditions (third-line therapy for the relief of chronic back pain).
- May be used for the relief of tetanus spasms.
- Available as an injection.
- Generic methocarbamol is available.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:
- Drowsiness, flushing, low blood pressure, dizziness on standing, seizures, rash, blurred vision and a metallic taste in the mouth. Rarely, has been associated with life-threatening allergic reactions.
- The sedation caused by methocarbamol may affect a person's ability to drive or operate machinery. Alcohol should be avoided.
- May increase the risk of falls; seniors may be more at risk.
- May interact with a number of other medicines including those that cause sedation (including opioids, benzodiazepines, and sedating antihistamines).
- Safety and effectiveness in children younger than 16 years has not been established. Methocarbamol should not be used during pregnancy or by women who are breastfeeding.
Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.
- May be taken with or without food.
- Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine.
- Do not drive, operate machinery, or engage in hazardous tasks while taking methocarbamol.
- Methocarbamol may make you more likely to fall over. Remove any trip hazards around your home, such as loose rugs.
- Do not take any other medication, including medicines brought over-the-counter, in addition to methocarbamol, without first checking with your doctor or pharmacist first to make sure they are compatible.
- Seek urgent medical advice if you develop unexplained flu symptoms, a slow heart rate, extreme dizziness, seizures, or a yellowing of your skin or eyes.
6. Response and Effectiveness
- Methocarbamol starts working in about 30 minutes and its full effects are seen within 2 hours. Methocarbamol is relatively short-acting and needs to be taken three to four times a day as directed by a doctor.
Medicines that interact with methocarbamol may either decrease its effect, affect how long it works for, increase side effects, or have less of an effect when taken with methocarbamol. An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of the medications; however, sometimes it does. Speak to your doctor about how drug interactions should be managed.
Common medications that may interact with methocarbamol include:
- anti-anxiety medications such as lorazepam or diazepam
- anticonvulsants such as phenytoin, valproic acid
- antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, imipramine, nortriptyline, fluoxetine, or sertraline
- antihistamines that cause sedation, such as diphenhydramine
- monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as selegiline, isocarboxazid, or phenelzine (interaction may be life-threatening)
- opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and morphine
- other muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine
- sleeping pills, such as zolpidem
- some chemotherapy treatments
- some medications used to treat mental illness, such as clozapine and thioridazine
Alcohol may worsen the side effects of methocarbamol such as drowsiness and dizziness.
Note that this list is not all-inclusive and includes only common medications that may interact with methocarbamol. You should refer to the prescribing information for methocarbamol for a complete list of interactions.
Methocarbamol. Revised 06/2019. Drugs.com https://www.drugs.com/ppa/methocarbamol.html
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use methocarbamol only for the indication prescribed.
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