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What Is Chlorzoxazone?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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Chlorzoxazone is a prescription muscle relaxant commonly given to people who suffer from acute muscle injuries. When used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan along with anti-inflammatory medications, rest, and physical therapy, chlorzoxazone can significantly shorten recovery time. When the medication is used correctly, there are few risks of major side effects. Adverse drug interactions and liver complications are possible, however, and it is important to explain medication use and medical history to the prescribing doctor in detail before starting treatment with chlorzoxazone.

Muscle relaxants such as chlorzoxazone work by depressing electrical signals in the central nervous system. As a result, nerves that would otherwise stimulate contractions and painful sensations in injured muscles are essentially turned off. Muscles are able stay loose, and pain is significantly reduced. The medication is often administered in combination with an anti-inflammatory drug that further alleviates symptoms of swelling and tenderness. The combination medical therapy makes it easier to start stretching and exercising sore muscles after a few days of rest.

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Chlorzoxazone is usually given to patients with major muscle sprains, strains, or tears to aid in a fast recovery. The drug may also be used to help manage chronic conditions such as lower back pain. In most cases, doctors instruct their adult patients to take one 500 milligram capsule three to four times a day at regular intervals until their symptoms start to improve. The dosage amount may be raised or lowered during treatment depending on a patient's response. The drug is also generally safe for use by pediatric patients at much smaller dosages.

Side effects are possible when taking chlorzoxazone. A common reaction experienced my many patients is darkened or purple-tinted urine. Changes in urine color are harmless in most cases and a natural result of metabolizing and excreting the medicine. Other side effects may include stomach upset, drowsiness, muscle weakness, and temporary bouts of dizziness or lightheadedness.

A small number of patients experience more serious side effects and adverse reactions from chlorzoxazone. It is possible to have extreme nausea and painful, bloody vomiting. Patients who have histories of liver problems are at risk of jaundice or potentially life-threatening liver failure when taking the medication. Rarely, an allergic reaction may occur that causes chest tightness, breathing difficulties, and skin hives. It is important to report any unusual side effects to a doctor right away and seek emergency medical care if major complications arise.

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