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Soma (Carisoprodol): Risks and Benefits Related to Muscle Relaxers

Soma as a Strong-Acting Antispasmodic

Skeletal muscle relaxers are a varied group of medicines widely applied in treatment of two different types of clinical conditions: spasticity caused by upper motor neuron syndromes (UMNS) and muscular pain/spasms that occur as the result of peripheral motoric conditions. Soma (carisoprodol) is a pain reliever of relaxing nature originally approved by the FDA in 2007. Currently, it is manufactured by Meda Pharmaceuticals and remains high on the list of highly potent yet commonly abused medications.

How Soma Helps in Motoric Conditions

Spasticity that has UMNS as its underlying cause (which is a set of certain indications connected with disordered reflexes, bad dexterity, repetitive or twisting movements, overreacting to external or internal stimuli, impaired or weak movements, contractures, and rapid onset of tiredness) often starts from a variety of disorders affecting the spinal cord or cortex. Among those spasticity-associated disorders there are multiple sclerosis (MS), brain damage, spinal cord damage, post-stroke condition, and cerebral palsy. In many sufferers of these disorders, spasticity can be incapacitating and hurting, with a marked impact on their functional abilities and well-being. Not infrequently, motoric issues leading to tenderness and muscular spasms include fibromyalgia, longer-lasting pain in fascia, tension-type headaches, and lumbago. Should muscular spasms be noticeable in these painful states, they will be mostly localized in the disordered groups of contractible tissues. These issues are commonly met in diverse patient populations and capable of causing pronounced disabilities and soreness. Skeletal muscle relaxants such as Soma (carisoprodol) are one of several classes of medications frequently used to treat pains of the above origins.

Similar Drugs to Soma

The skeletal muscle relaxers chlorzoxazone, carisoprodol, metaxalone, and methocarbamol have been accepted for short-term treatments of motoric problems. Other medications used to manage spasticity, although not formally preferred for this indication, include benzodiazepines, clonidine, and botulinum toxin (BTX). The mechanism of action for most of these agents remains unclear but may be partially related to sedative effects. These drugs are quite widely used for the treatment of numerous motoric conditions, regardless of whether muscle spasms are present or not. Even though there is some overlap between clinical usage (carisoprodol has received particular attention in patients with motoric conditions), clinicians tend to separate skeletal muscle relaxers aimed at spasticity from those against movement-related pain only. Unfortunately, there is little data regarding the comparative efficacy and safety of the above remedies.

Positive and Negative Outcomes of Soma Therapy

Carisoprodol is metabolized to meprobamate. This metabolite did not receive any proper attention in the past; currently, it is not anymore considered safe, so the therapeutic benefits should be carefully measured against the risks. Meprobamate is a glycol derivative with a toxicity level beyond average. Allergic reactions in chronic users include aplastic anemia, rash, and other skin reactions. As compared to benzodiazepines, the effect of Soma is milder; however, carisoprodol is also narrower in action and therefore, in contrast to benzodiazepines, its only indication is as a tranquilizer. Among the relaxer-type pain relievers, carisoprodol causes the highest drowsiness and has the greatest abuse potential. FDA reports that drug addicts can combine carisoprodol with two other medications, benzodiazepine alprazolam (Xanax) and hydrocodone, in order to create a narcotic cocktail called ‘The Trinity’. Due to its high potential for abuse and addiction, carisoprodol is regulated under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Because of its abusive nature and risk of serious side effects, Soma should be kept away from children, teenagers, and anyone not authorized to use it.

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