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Methocarbamol is a muscle relaxant medication. The drug is most commonly prescribed for spasms and pain in the muscular skeletal system that have been caused by injury. It is marketed under the brand name Robaxin®.
The drug works by blocking nerve impulses to the brain before they can travel to the muscles. It does not target the muscles specifically, but rather relaxes the whole body. There also are other products on the market that combine methocarbamol with pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
Methocarbamol comes in tablet form. Many doctors will first prescribe that the drug be taken four times a day. Depending on the effect it is having, the dosage may be reduced or increased after a few days. The drug is meant to be taken for no more than a few weeks. For maximum effectiveness, most doctors will prescribe a regimen of physical therapy and rest in addition to methocarbamol treatment.
There are some conditions which may make taking methocarbamol too risky. Doctors will typically use caution when treating patients who have myasthenia gravis and kidney or liver disease. Pregnant women are typically advised not to take the drug, though there has been no risk determined for nursing mothers. Elderly patients are also at a higher risk for getting adverse side effects from the medication.
As several medications can have an adverse interaction with methocarbamol, a full medical history should be disclosed to the prescribing doctor. Allergy medications, sleep aids, and tranquilizers are among the drugs that may be of concern. Alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of side effects. There may also be certain foods which could cause an adverse interaction, depending on the patient.
The less serious side effects of taking methocarbamol include nausea, vomiting, and headache. Some patients also experience insomnia or drowsiness, problems with memory, and dizziness. There have also been reports of fever, itching, stuffy nose, and unusual sensations under the skin such as tingling and warmth. These effects should be discussed with a doctor if they persist or become more serious. The drug can also turn urine green, black, or blue, but this is normal and does not require medical attention.
Severe side effects of taking methocarbamol should be reported to a doctor immediately. They include convulsions, a slow heart rate, or jaundice. Feelings of faintness, poor balance, a feeling of spinning, or confusion should also be treated as soon as possible.