Tizanidine is what’s known as a “short-acting muscle relaxer”. It works by stopping the pain receptors in the brain from receiving impulses. The typical use of Tizanidine is to relieve pain or muscle spasms. It is typically used in the treatment of disorders like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.
Tizanidine is usually taken by mouth, and should be taken every 6-8 hours. Oral tablets typically come in a 12mg dosage. As such, doctors recommend taking no more than 3 pills a day, for a maximum daily dosage of 36mg.
The medication can be taken with or without food. Experts say that either is fine, as long as you remain consistent with the way you take it.
Although it’s always taken orally, the medication can come in either a tablet or a capsule form. Whether you take the tablet or capsule, or take the medication with or without food, is going to affect how your body responds to the medication. Consult with your doctor to determine the best method for taking your particular dosage.
Tizanidine Side Effects
Tizanidine can have some more serious side effects that should be addressed first. One of these side effects is low blood pressure. To avoid this risk, your doctor may prescribe you the lowest dosage of Tizanidine that works for you. If you’re already taking medications to lower your blood pressure, your doctor may have to monitor your blood pressure more often.
Another serious side effect to look out for is liver damage. Tizanidine can sometimes cause liver damage, so if you’ve been diagnosed with liver disease you may want to talk to your doctor about how safe Tizanidine is for you.
Visual hallucinations are another side effect to be careful of when taking Tizanidine. It can also cause delusions. The main difference is hallucinations are seeing things that aren’t real, and delusions are believing things that aren’t real. If you begin to experience either of these side effects, please contact your doctor immediately.
More Common Side Effects
- Dry mouth
- Urinary tract infection
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Difficulty seeing
- Difficulty speaking
Tizanidine And Other Medications
If you are currently on other medications you should discuss them with your doctor. Tizanidine can interact with other medications or supplements, so be open with your doctor about what you’re already taking. These other medications may cause harmful effects, or alter the way Tizanidine will work for you.
Here are some of the medications that may increase the side effects of Tizanidine:
- Certain Antibiotics called fluoroquinolones
- Certain heart rhythm drugs (amiodarone, mexiletine, propafenone, verapamil)
- Antacids such as cimetidine or famotidine
- Oral contraceptives
The common side effects among all of these medications are low blood pressure, low heart rate, or extreme drowsiness. If you are already taking these medications your doctor is going to have to monitor your symptoms while you are taking Tizanidine.
Various forms of benzodiazepines, opioids, and certain antidepressants can also cause extreme drowsiness when mixed with Tizanidine.
You should also make your doctor aware of any allergies you may have. An allergic reaction to Tizanidine can be particularly dangerous because it can cause difficulty breathing.
Drugs Not to Be Used With Tizanidine
You should be aware of the following drugs, as they are not to be used with Tizanidine under any circumstances:
- Fluvoxamine and ciprofloxacin(Cipro) – these drugs, when mixed with Tizanidine can cause extremely low blood pressure, drowsiness, or loss of muscle control
- Other medications in the alpha-2 agonist family – These drugs can cause very low blood pressure as well. Some examples include: clonidine, methyldopa, guanfacine, or guanabenz.
What is Tizanidine Withdrawal
If Tizanidine is stopped suddenly, it can cause withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can take effect because your brain is actively working to rebound from the disruptive effect Tizanidine has on brain chemistry. Withdrawal symptoms can be rather severe, and make users very sick, but have been known to subside within 24 hours of starting medication-assisted detox.
High blood pressure, muscle stiffness, rapid heart rate, tremors, anxiety, agitation, nausea, vomiting, whole-body shaking, rapid breathing, and fluctuations in body temperature are all possible symptoms of Tizanidine withdrawal.
How Long Does Withdrawal Last
Like any drug, in order to find out how long withdrawal symptoms can persist, it’s important to find out Tizanidine’s half-life. The half-life is how long it takes the body to process the drug. Tizandine’s half-life is 150 minutes. This means the drug can be passed through the average person’s system in just a few hours.
However, in many cases of Tizanidine use, patients are prescribed a high dosage and end up with impaired kidney and liver function. This slows down the process of the drug leaving the body. Using other drugs like alcohol while attempting to taper off of Tizanidine can also cause withdrawal symptoms to linger.
Although the body can process Tizandine pretty quickly, it still takes time for the brain to recover from this medication. This is because Tizanidine can have a very disruptive effect on brain chemistry.
With so many factors affecting withdrawal and recovery, it is hard to say exactly how long a Tizanidine withdrawal can last. It is dependent upon the individual getting off the drug.
Medications to Ease Withdrawal
On occasion, medical professionals will use medications to help with particularly tough withdrawals. The idea is that giving a patient some help dealing with withdrawal symptoms makes it more likely that they will stick with recovery.
With respect to Tizanidine, doctors will often use alpha and beta-blockers to control the patients heart rate and blood pressure while going through withdrawal. If a patients’ withdrawal is particularly severe, the doctor may also prescribe medications similar to Tizanidine to help wean the patient off of the drug.
Turning The Corner
We’ve covered several different aspects of Tizanidine and what to expect. We’ve even gone over what is tizanidine withdrawal.
Recovery from Tizanidine, like anything else, can be difficult. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you, or a loved one, are really struggling with any dependency issue or addiction, we are here for you.