What Is Metaxalone?

wiseGEEK Writer

Metaxalone is a prescription-only muscle relaxant, which is most often used to treat injury to the musculoskeletal system resulting in pain, such as sprains or muscle spasms. The drug is a depressant to the central nervous system (CNS), and may cause symptoms of greater sedation when combined with other CNS depressants. Physicians won't always view this medication as the best choice, and they take into account patients' medical conditions or prescribed drugs that contraindicate it. In addition, metaxalone may cause minor or severe side effects in a small percentage of users.

Nausea with extreme stomach pain is a medically urgent side effect of metaxalone.
Nausea with extreme stomach pain is a medically urgent side effect of metaxalone.

In most regions metaxalone is available by prescription, and it’s typically only prescribed for adults or children over 12. The normal dose is an 800 milligram (mg) tablet, though sometimes less is recommended, every three to four hours. Younger children aren't good candidates for this medication. Elderly patients generally won't receive it, either, because CNS effects like dizziness may be much more pronounced in this population. Pregnant and nursing women should also not use this drug.

Signs of an allergic reaction to metaxalone may include hives.
Signs of an allergic reaction to metaxalone may include hives.

There are certain medical conditions that can contraindicate the use of metaxalone. Those who have anemia — extremely low red blood cell counts — generally are advised against taking this medication. Patients with diseased or damaged livers or kidneys may need to use smaller amounts of the drug or might require a different medicine for pain relief.

Metaxalone is usually not given to elderly patients, as side effects like dizziness are more common.
Metaxalone is usually not given to elderly patients, as side effects like dizziness are more common.

Drug interactions between metaxalone and other medications are numerous. A major interaction occurs when patients take propoxyphene of any kind. Since many regions have banned propoxyphene, however, it's less likely that anyone will encounter this reaction.

Children should not take metaxalone.
Children should not take metaxalone.

Using this medication with other drugs that are CNS depressants will likely cause an increase in certain side effects. Those who take benzodiazepines, opioids, barbiturates, or antipsychotic medications should discuss with a physician the risks and benefits of using them concurrently with metaxalone. Moreover, people should avoid mixing the drug with alcohol, which is a CNS depressant, too.

Metaxalone is most often prescribed to treat muscle sprains and spasms.
Metaxalone is most often prescribed to treat muscle sprains and spasms.

Side effects of metaxalone can be considered benign or serious. Some patients develop mild gastrointestinal disturbances like vomiting, nausea or indigestion. Others report rashes or headaches. The symptoms of CNS depression include dizziness and drowsiness, and users of the drug can also have paradoxical reactions, like anxiousness. These side effects are typically benign, but should be reported if they worsen or are interfering with daily activities.

In contrast, serious adverse reactions need immediate medical attention. They include any signs of allergy, such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, mouth, and tongue. Nausea with extreme stomach pain is medically urgent, as are the presence of jaundice or fever. Patients should also get help if the color of their urine is very dark, since this may signify problems with kidney function.

The symptoms of CNS depression include drowsiness and dizziness.
The symptoms of CNS depression include drowsiness and dizziness.

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