May 01, 2023
Cyclobenzaprine vs Tizanidine: Which is the Better Muscle Relaxer?
Whether you've experienced persistent muscle pain or occasional spasms due to a medical condition, your doctor may have prescribed a muscle relaxer, also called a muscle relaxant.
In this blog post, we'll explore some key differences between both medications to help you determine which option would offer better relief for your condition.
How do Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine work?
Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine help reduce muscle spasms by blocking nerve impulses that trigger those contractions.
But how they each do that is different.
Cyclobenzaprine works by stopping nerve signals in the spinal cord. In comparison, Tizanidine is more direct - blocking the nerve signals in the brain, reducing activity of the muscles that cause muscles to spasm.
Dosage and administration
There is a key difference between the dosing instructions for each of the medications. Cyclobenzaprine should be taken at doses ranging from 5-10 mg three times per day with no more than 30 mg daily, while Tizanidine usually begins with 2-4 mg per day but can increase up to 36 mg as needed.
In addition, Cyclobenzaprine remains active longer once ingested due to its much larger half-life (18 hours) than Tizanidine, which in contrast only has a half-life of approximately 2.5 hours long.
Both Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine have similar possible side effects, which include:
However, Tizanidine may also cause a drop in blood pressure, involuntary movements (dyskinesia), and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Alternatively, people who take Cyclobenzaprine can experience nausea and headache.
Both Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine can interfere with other drugs you may be taking, especially those that affect the central nervous system, including barbiturates and opioids.
Other drug interactions to avoid are:
Always inform your doctor if you are taking any other medicine and of any medical conditions, like liver or kidney disease, before getting prescribed either medication is essential.
Please note: this is not an inclusive list. Some supplements, vitamins, food, and beverages are known to have negative reactions when taken with Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine.
Is Cyclobenzaprine or Tizanidine more effective?
Both medications are commonly known to alleviate muscle spasms and pain. However, Tizanidine is more effective in providing longer-lasting relief in patients with spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. Whereas, Cyclobenzaprine can't be taken for more than a few weeks at a time, so it is more effective for acute muscle spasms and pain.
Reviewing your symptoms, current medication list, and medical history with your healthcare provider is the best way to decide which muscle relaxer will work best.
Can you take Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine together?
You should never take both medications together as you significantly increase the severity of side effects, including the risk of experiencing a muscle relaxer overdose.
Signs of an overdose include:
Changes in body temperature
Severe anxiety or restlessness
Vomiting (in occurrence with other symptoms of overdose)
Cyclobenzaprine and Tizanidine are both effective and safe options for treating muscle spasms and pain.
Deciding between the two depends on factors such as the type of muscle spasm or pain you are experiencing and their possible side effects and dosing. Therefore, we always suggest consulting your doctor before choosing either of these medications.
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