Drugs Q & A

How Long After Taking Cyclobenzaprine Can I Drink Alcohol?

Even in small amounts, alcohol may intensify medication side effects such as sleepiness, drowsiness, and light-headedness, which may interfere with your concentration and ability to operate machinery or drive a vehicle, and lead to serious or even fatal accidents.

Because alcohol can adversely interact with hundreds of commonly used medications, it’s important to observe warning labels and ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe to use alcohol with any medications and herbal remedies that you take.

What is Cyclobenzaprine?

Cyclobenzaprine belongs to the family of medications known as muscle relaxants. It is used along with rest and physical therapy for the relief of muscle spasm associated with acute (sudden and short-term) painful conditions. Muscle relaxants work in the central nervous system (CNS) to modify signals from the brain that cause the muscles to tighten. When used in combination with rest and physical therapy, muscle relaxants help to relieve the pain and stiffness caused by muscle spasm.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should this medicine be used?

Cyclobenzaprine comes as a tablet and an extended-release capsule to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken with or without food three times a day. The extended-release capsule is usually taken with or without food once a day. Do not take this drug for more than 3 weeks without talking to your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take cyclobenzaprine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the extended-release capsules whole; do not chew or crush them.

If you are not able to swallow the extended-release capsule whole, mix the contents of the capsule with applesauce. Eat the mixture right away and swallow without chewing. After you eat the mixture, take a drink, and swish and swallow to make sure that you have received all the medication.

Why alcohol and cyclobenzaprine don’t mix

Mixing alcohol and cyclobenzaprine is a bad idea because alcohol affects the way cyclobenzaprine works in your body. Alcohol and cyclobenzaprine both depress your central nervous system. They work to slow brain activity, which can slow functions down, including your breathing and heart rate as well. They can also make you feel calm or sleepy.

Since both alcohol and cyclobenzaprine have this depressant effect, combining the two can compound their impact on your body. This means that the side effects of muscle relaxers, such as drowsiness or dizziness, can be intensified when you drink alcohol.

What will happen if I mix them?

Mixing alcohol and cyclobenzaprine can make the effects of muscle relaxers more intense, and not in a good way.

This can lead to potentially dangerous symptoms, such as:

•          increased drowsiness or tiredness

•          dizziness or light-headedness

•          slowed breathing

•          reduced motor control or coordination

•          problems with memory

•          increased risk of seizures

•          increased risk of overdose

Additionally, both alcohol and cyclobenzaprine are potentially addictive substances. Long-term use of either or both may increase your risk of developing an addiction.

How long after taking cyclobenzaprine can I drink alcohol?

You should not drink alcohol before, during, or up to three days after taking cyclobenzaprine. This drug stays in your system for three to eight days but can vary in different people. The variance is due to differences in the individual, the long half-life, and other factors. Half-life is the time it takes for your body to reduce the plasma drug levels by half. cyclobenzaprine is eliminated slowly from the body. It usually takes around 5.5 x half-life for a drug to be eliminated from your system.

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