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Muscle relaxants are used to relieve muscle spasms which may result from some conditions which affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, or following long-term injuries to the head or back. In addition, diazepam may be used for short periods of time to relieve lower back pain. Cannabis extract is usually started by a consultant in a hospital. It is normally prescribed for people with multiple sclerosis who have tried other muscle relaxants which are not working. In most cases it is given a four-week trial to see if it helps with symptoms.
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There are a number of other things to consider when taking muscle relaxants:
People who have a personal or family history of hallucinations or delusions or any other severe psychiatric disorder should not take cannabis extract. Baclofen should not be given to people who have a stomach ulcer and tizanidine should not be given to people who have severe problems with their liver. Diazepam should be avoided in people who have severe breathing difficulties for example, people who have myasthenia gravis and with lung problems.
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Cannabis extract is a spray for the mouth. It should be sprayed under the tongue or on to the inside of the cheek once or twice a day. Always change the area in your mouth where you spray, to prevent irritation of the mouth. Like other muscle relaxants you will normally start off with a low dose. The number of sprays used is normally increased over a number of days.
Most muscle relaxant preparations are available as tablets, capsules, or liquids. Baclofen is also available as an injection into the back (an intrathecal injection). Diazepam is also available as a liquid that can be inserted into the back passage (rectum), and there is a diazepam preparation that can be injected into muscle. Cannabis extract is only available as a spray for the mouth. Muscle relaxants are sometimes used to treat other conditions - for example, diazepam is sometimes used to treat difficulty with sleeping (insomnia). The rest of this leaflet only discusses the use of baclofen, dantrolene, diazepam, tizanidine, and cannabis extract when they are used as muscle relaxants.
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It is helpful if you have your medication and/or the leaflet that came with it with you while you fill out the report. Multiple Sclerosis Trust MS-UK.
There are separate leaflets called Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Cerebral Palsy, and Non-specific Lower Back Pain in Adults.
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Most people are able to take a muscle relaxant.
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Note : diazepam is sometimes used for other reasons too. It is given as a pre-medication (often called a 'pre-med') to reduce anxiety before an operation, particularly during procedures that may cause anxiety or discomfort. It can also be used to treat seizures. Rectal diazepam tubes may be prescribed for this, as they are useful if a quick effect is needed or if it is not possible to give the medicine by mouth.
No, you cannot buy muscle relaxants. They are only available from your pharmacy on prescription.
Muscle relaxants are used to relieve muscle spasms which may result from some conditions which affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, or following long-term injuries to the head or back. They work by causing the muscles to relax, which may also reduce pain and discomfort.
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These medicines are usually taken by mouth (tablets, capsules or liquids). In general, your doctor will start off with a low dose and increase this gradually over a number of weeks. This is in order to help your body get used to these medicines. Injections into the back are always started in the hospital.
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Muscle relaxants work by causing the muscles to relax, which reduces pain and discomfort. Baclofen, diazepam, and tizanidine act on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Dantrolene, works directly on the muscle, and cannabis extract works on the brain and spinal cord as well as the muscles. Because dantrolene only works on the muscles it is thought to have fewer side-effects compared with other muscle relaxants. For this reason, dantrolene is often the first muscle relaxant to be prescribed.
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As with most medicines, muscle relaxants have a number possible of side-effects. However, not everyone experiences them and they usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. It is not possible in this leaflet to list all the possible side-effects for these medicines. However, see below for a list of the most common side-effects. For more detailed information, see the leaflet that comes with the medicine packet.
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Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines, you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at the following web address: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
Several muscle relaxants are available to prescribe in the UK; they include baclofen, dantrolene, diazepam, tizanidine, and a cannabis extract containing dronabinol and cannabidiol (trade name Sativex). There is also another muscle relaxant called methocarbamol available in the UK. However, this is not thought to work as well as other muscle relaxants and is rarely prescribed. Some medicines that are given by injection into the vein during surgery are also known as muscle relaxants. They are sometimes called 'neuromuscular blocking drugs' and are used to relax the muscles in the abdomen and diaphragm during surgery. They work in a compley different way to baclofen, dantrolene, diazepam, tizanidine, and cannabis extract and are not discussed here.
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Muscle relaxants are medicines that are used to prevent and reduce muscle spasms and spasticity. Muscle spasms occur when there is an uncontrolled (involuntary) contraction of a group of muscles. The muscles usually shorten (contract) suddenly; this is often painful. Spasticity occurs when some muscles contract tightly and can then become stiff and harder to use. Muscle relaxants are sometimes referred to as spasmolytics.
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