Effects of Carisoprodol
Carisoprodol causes muscle relaxation, sedation, and decreased anxiety. However, muscle relaxants like carisoprodol can also cause various unintended side effects. These side effects can become more severe, and even dangerous, when the drug is misused. The National Library of Medicine lists the following side effects of carisoprodol:
- Increased clumsiness
- Increased heart rate
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Skin rash
Some side effects, like difficulty breathing, fever, weakness, or burning in the eyes, can indicate a severe reaction to carisoprodol and require immediate medical attention. The effects of carisoprodol generally set in within 30 minutes of taking the drug and generally last 4-6 hours.
Abusing carisoprodol can have many adverse effects on the body. The Drug Enforcement Administration lists the following physical effects:
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Extreme weakness
- Cervical spine injury
- Difficulty speaking
- Temporary loss of vision
- Double vision
- Dilated pupils
These effects are typically short-lasting. However, continued abuse of the drug can cause permanent damage to the body. The heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain can all be adversely affected by abuse of prescription medications.
An overdose of carisoprodol can be very dangerous and requires immediate medical attention. The New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) lists the following symptoms of carisoprodol overdose:
- Extreme sedation
- Difficulty breathing
Severe overdose on carisoprodol can lead to death or permanent brain damage. Risk of overdose is much higher if the drug is overused or used other than how it is prescribed. Repeated abuse of this drug can lead to an unintentional overdose.
Overdose risk is also increased among individuals who have been through detox. Repeated use of carisoprodol can lead to increased tolerance, meaning that a higher dose of the drug is needed in order to achieve effects once felt after a smaller dose. Tolerance decreases quickly after use of the drug is lessened or stopped, so a dose that was previously well tolerated may become too large and cause an overdose.
According to Current Drug Abuse Reviews, carisoprodol causes addiction in similar ways to sedatives like benzodiazepines. This drug breaks down in the body to produce a metabolite called meprobamate, which can be addictive. People generally abuse carisoprodol for its relaxation and sedative effects.
Many people who become addicted to this drug were originally prescribed the medication by a doctor to treat an injury or other muscle pain. Some people who take the drug become addicted. Chances of becoming addicted to prescription medications increases if they are misused; if individuals attempt to self-treat muscle pain by taking larger doses than prescribed, or using the drug in ways other than how it is intended, they are more likely to become addicted to the substance.
Other people may first acquire carisoprodol through illicit means. Some people take this medication with other illicit substances in order to augment or enhance the effects. Because carisoprodol is relatively easy to acquire, abuse of this substance has increased in recent years, and physical dependence on the drug has become more common. OASAS reports that carisoprodol abuse has climbed in recent years, and in 2007, the rates of abuse were similar to rates of abuse for controlled substances like Klonopin and Librium.
Many people who are addicted to carisoprodol are physically dependent on this medication. Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to a certain drug and then requires the drug in order to function normally. Once physical dependence occurs, the individual will experience a withdrawal syndrome whenever lessening or stopping use of the substance.
Current Drug Abuse Reviews lists the following symptoms of carisoprodol withdrawal:
- Muscle twitching
- Ataxia (loss of control over body movements)