How Long After Muscle Relaxer Can I Drink (And Why)?

Exact Answer: > 3 days

When a patient experiences spasms or reoccurring pain in their muscles, the general practitioner usually prescribes muscle relaxers if over the counter (OTC) medicines fail. Muscle relaxants form a group of drugs that are taken to relieve neck and back pain, stress-induced headaches, and associated symptoms.

Typically, they are to be taken only for a short while. They are effective in reducing acute pain and spasms and improve the current mobility of affected muscles. Not all muscle relaxers have the same chemical makeup. Rather, they are grouped due to their sedative and relaxant properties.

How Long After Muscle Relaxer Can I Drink?

This group of drugs acts as a depressant to the human central nervous system. They sedate the brain and relax the muscles as it gives up strict control of the body. It is risky to self prescribe any muscle relaxant.

Some of the side effects that may ensue from their consumption include sleepiness/ disorientation, allergic reactions, depression, decrease in blood pressure, blurred vision, drying up of the mouth, etc. There is also the precarious potential of getting addicted to these heavy drugs.

As muscle relaxants are inherently depressants, they slow down the body’s functioning. Your heart beats slower, your breathing calms down, and your mind gets foggy. Alcohol drinkers will recognize these symptoms as they also occur during alcohol consumption. This is because alcohol is also a depressant of the human central nervous system.

When you combine alcohol with muscle relaxants, their side effects get compounded and you will feel them more intensely. It is an unsafe idea to consume both together. Combined consumption of the two may lead to the following dangerous symptoms –

  1. Excessive drowsiness
  2. Memory problems
  3. Sloppy motor coordination
  4. Too slowed breathing

These symptoms, if not observed and treated quickly may prove to be fatal. Moreover, alcohol and muscle relaxers are individually addictive substances. So consuming them together sharply increases the risk of getting addicted for life.
If your doctor has prescribed you muscle relaxers, discuss with them whether you can consume any alcohol and when. Never assume a doctor’s opinion and self prescribe.

Muscle relaxants – depressants Avoid mixing the two altogether.
Alcohol – depressantIf unavoidable, keep a gap of > 3 days.

Why Should I Wait That Long After Muscle Relaxer To Drink?

You must not operate heavy machinery (including driving a car) while consuming muscle relaxers or alcohol. The effects of muscle relaxers alone can last anywhere from 4 – 72 hours. This is why drinking the same day as taking a relaxant is considerably fraught with danger.

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Taking muscle relaxers without prescription or in a greater quantity than prescribed may lead to addiction. Prolonged consumption may lead to physical dependence, and users can experience withdrawal symptoms without them. We can see why muscle relaxers are dangerous enough on their own.
Some of the most addictive muscle relaxants are Soma, Flexeril, Carisoprodol etc. Addiction may result in overdose, which can further lead to:

  1. Shock or stupor
  2. Seizures in body
  3. Non-induced coma
  4. Hallucinations
  5. Heart attack, or even
  6. Death

It is thus advised to strictly follow your doctor’s instructions and dosage. If you suddenly try to stop taking relaxants after prolonged usage, you may face withdrawal symptoms as the brain gets used to the effects. Combined alcohol and drug abuse have life-threatening consequences.

Vitally important is that you share your medical history and current condition with your doctor while getting treatment which involves muscle relaxants. Some other inhibitor drugs should not be mixed with them as they have the same depressant effect. Your doctor should be aware of any drug/alcohol intake you are doing to mitigate any negative consequences.

If you have already consumed alcohol less than 3 days after taking muscle relaxants, you must stop drinking immediately. Seek medical attention if you observe rigorous symptoms, and just to be cautious, consult with your doctor anyway.

Conclusion

To summarise the above article, both muscle relaxants and alcohol are depressant drugs. They dampen your central nervous system and are extremely potent when consumed together. You should not mix any drug or alcohol with muscle relaxants as this may result in severe medical effects and even death.

If you accidentally do mix both, seek medical care and consult your doctor. When you are confused about whether something will negatively interact with your medicine, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist. Take utmost care while handling medicines that affect the brain in such a heavy manner.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761694/
  2. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00464/full

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